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David Gow

Germans in charge

Last week France and Germany abandoned the dual-nationality management structure at Eads, the owner of Airbus, in an attempt to turn the struggling aerospace and defence group into a "normal" global company. The move will bring an end to the strife that has crippled the group for the past two years.

EU warns of global climate chaos

The European Commission this week stepped up the European Union's campaign to lead the fight against climate change by warning that global warming was so catastrophic that it could trigger regional conflicts, poverty, famine and migration. Setting out a strategy to combat global warming and improve Europe's energy security at the same time, it said the secondary effects of climate change would inevitably affect even a less vulnerable Europe.

Spanish bullfighting slowly bleeding to death

Most people cannot imagine Spain without bullfights, but there are growing signs that the country's centuries-old fiesta nacional (national celebration) is on the decline. Not only are young people losing interest in the glittering and bloody spectacle, but even some of the authorities are beginning to feel embarrassed about this ''art''.

Football bounce for Germany

The mainland European economy, buoyed by a resurgent Germany, is expanding at its fastest rate for six years, outstripping the United Kingdom and the United States, fresh figures showed last week. Domestic euphoria over the football World Cup held in Germany boosted the country's economy, which grew by 0,9% in the second quarter, the fastest growth for more than five years.c

Airbus looks set to fly again

Recently Eads, the majority owner of Airbus, put an end to the crisis that has crippled it for more than two weeks by forcing the resignations of Noel Forgeard, its joint chief executive, and Gustav Humbert, the head of the European plane maker.

Permission to over-pollute?

European officials are under mounting pressure to tighten the pollution limits on European industry in the second phase of its flagship emissions trading scheme. Such a move is essential, critics said, to restore the scheme's credibility and to make a meaningful contribution to tackling climate change.

Volkswagen to wield jobs axe

Volkswagen (VW), Europe's biggest carmaker, gave a warning recently to its 100 000 German employees that they would have to accept thousands of job losses and several plant closures if the group was to survive. Linking his own future to that of the company, the chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder and his fellow directors bluntly told staff that VW was doomed.

Volkswagen to cut its losses

Volkswagen warned recently that it could axe up to 20 000 jobs at its core VW brand and close several loss-making German plants in a restructuring designed to restore profits. CE Bernd Pischetsrieder told VW's 103 000 German employees that their productivity was low, plants recorded high losses and some component operations were uneconomical.

Sparks fly as Arcelor attacks Mittal bid

Arcelor, the European steelmaker, recently launched its defence against Mittal Steel's hostile â,¬18,6-billion takeover bid with a savage attack on its predator's track record. It claims Mittal had destroyed shareholder value and jobs and has a shoddy record on corporate governance and safety.

Wheels come off in VW sex, drugs and money scandal

The corruption scandal at Volkswagen this year robbed Europe's largest car-maker of at least â,¬5-million (about R40-million) in illegal kickbacks and theft, an independent report by auditors KPMG disclosed recently. The report brought closer criminal charges against Peter Hartz, the former personnel director and close adviser to Germany's outgoing German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.

Mittal buys Ukraine steel mill on TV

Ukranian TV viewers watched agog as representatives of the world's two biggest steel groups, Mittal and Arcelor, drove up the price for their country's largest metals producer, Kryvorizhstal, in a frenzied auction carried out before the cameras. The auction saw Mittal Steel, the world's biggest steel producer secure control of the Ukrainian steel mill with a killer bid of £2,7-billion.

A winning strategy

On Tuesday, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson saw off French manoeuvres aimed at tying his hands in critical talks to liberalise world trade, winning strong backing from most European governments for his negotiating tactics. The French government summoned a meeting to discuss complaints that the former Mandelsonhad exceeded his mandate in tabling concessions on farm subsidies.

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