February 8, 2019 / 6:38 PM / 5 months ago

German finance minister: Mistake to refuse creation of corporate European champions

FILE PHOTO - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends a media briefing during his visit to Beijing, China, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

LONDON (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday Europe needed to allow the emergence of large European firms through consolidation to be able to compete with their global peers, such as those from the United States.

“Refusing the idea of building big European Champions by consolidation could be a mistake,” Scholz said in a keynote speech at the London School of Economics.

“Sometimes size matters,” he said in response to a question about the tie-up between Alstom and Siemens, which was blocked by the EU regulators, scuppering efforts to create a European rail champion.

Asked about the European Commission’s sharp revision of economic growth rates across the block, Scholz said this was “not a catastrophe”

“There is a slowdown, but it is still growth...after many years of growth it is just something that happens,” he said.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker, editing by Abhinav Ramnarayan

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