Air France-klm May Help Alitalia Under Conditions: Report

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann By John Irish and Emmanuel Jarry PARIS | Thu Oct 3, 2013 8:21am EDT PARIS (Reuters) – France’s military will cut about 7,500 jobs next year, a defense ministry source said on Thursday, detailing government belt-tightening plans that the far-right hopes will deliver it votes at municipal elections in 2014. The cuts come as tensions rise within Socialist President Francois Hollande’s 17-month-old coalition, whose poll ratings have fallen to 23 percent due to dissatisfaction about the economy and jobs. The defense ministry said in April that 34,000 jobs would likely be cut over the coming six years, but its overall budget would remain largely static, steering clear of drastic spending cuts after military officials and lawmakers said that would reduce France’s ability to counter global security threats. “Given the six year objectives, (the cut) should be around 7,000 to 7,500 military and civilian personnel in 2014,” the source said on condition of anonymity, ahead of a news conference by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. A handful of bases will be closed or restructured, including an 800-man regiment in the town of Orange in the Vaucluse department, where support for the anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front is strong, the source said. Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a National Front member of parliament for Vaucluse, said the cuts would hurt France’s defenses and local economies in areas like hers. “I can only worry about the immediate economic impact in a region that has already been heavily hit by unemployment and economic difficulties,” she said, reacting to media reports about the cuts. “The governments of the right and the left have preferred to sell off our military know-how and lose our diplomatic independence by making small short-term savings. That will cost France’s sovereignty dearly in the coming years,” she said. France’s military employs some 228,000 personnel today. A further 165,000 individuals are employed by the defence industry, not including sub-contractors. The government plans 15 billion euros ($20 billion) in savings next year and 3 billion extra revenues from higher taxes and fighting tax evasion to reduce the budget deficit. (Editing by Tom Heneghan and Robin Pomeroy)

5, 2013 at 3:22 PM CALAIS, France, Oct. 5 (UPI) — A group of 60 Syrian nationals seeking asylum in Britain ended their protest in a French port after being denied passage, officials said. Members of the group had said they thought they wanted to settle in France but since arriving, they’ve been treated “worse than animals” with French police targeting them and being forced to live outside. After their treatment in France, the group stated they wanted to go to Britain but the British government denied them passage to seek asylum after taking over a ferry staging area in Calais since Wednesday, Skynet News said Saturday. British officials said they would consider individual requests for asylum but refused to take the group of 60 refugees together. Two members of the group climbed to the roof of the building and threatened to jump if their demands weren’t met. Another 20 were said to be on a hunger strike, officials said. In the end, the group dispersed peacefully. French officials said they would fast-track their asylum applications after the protest began but were rebuffed. Now, French police said, they suspect the individuals will live on the streets illegally and may eventually seek safe passage to Britain as undocumented aliens. Though France has said it would accept Syrian refugees looking for political asylum, only about 850 applicants of the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians have gone there, the United Nations said. 2013 United Press International, Inc.

An Alitalia plane passes an Air France plane on the tarmac of Charles de Gaulles International Airport in Roissy near Paris, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

If the conditions are met, I am ready to go ahead,” Air France-KLM Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told French daily Les Echos on Tuesday, without giving more details on the terms he had in mind. Gilberto Benetton, who invests in Alitalia via motorway group Atlantia’s 8.9 percent stake in the airline, said earlier on Tuesday he would welcome Air France-KLM taking control of the group, but warned Italy’s interests should be protected first. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, other ministers, banks and Alitalia’s management met on Tuesday to find a way of beefing up Alitalia’s finances to give it greater negotiating clout in its dealings with Air France-KLM. But the talks failed to reach any decision because of the uncertain political climate and another meeting was called for next week. There are worries that any Air France-KLM investment would clash with Italy’s ambition to make Rome a hub for intercontinental flights, and instead turn Alitalia into a regional player and trigger job cuts. But de Juniac’s comments signaled he did not doubt Alitalia’s ability to operate on long-haul routes – a strategy the group is betting on to revive its fortunes after its plans to become a strong regional player came unstuck in the face of tough competition and lower demand. “Air France-KLM-Alitalia, if one day we are united, could become a very great European brand. In such a scenario, we could supply (Alitalia’s) long-haul flights with passengers from Air France and KLM and they could do the same for us,” he said. De Juniac added that he could see Alitalia boosting its intercontinental routes where its own network might be weak. “Alitalia has strong points in Africa, Latin America and North America, where there is a strong Italian diaspora that can complement ours,” he told the paper. “Alitalia strengthens our commercial footprint pretty much everywhere. There are already many synergies.” NO CAPITAL INCREASE Analysts said Air France-KLM was unlikely to give up on Alitalia by letting it fail and opening Europe’s fourth-largest travel market to more competition. But Air France-KLM has set strict conditions on how the company should be restructured.

© 2016 pulpedfiction.com.