BERLIN (AP) -- Union leaders said 40,000 Volkswagen employees demonstrated Friday against European Commission action that they say could open the door to a takeover of Europe's biggest car maker.
Hartmut Meine, a local leader of the IG-Metall union, said the demonstration outside VW headquarters in Wolfsburg was among the largest ever of the car maker's workers.
The European Commission is preparing to challenge Germany at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg over a revised law that still allows the nation to block a takeover of VW. Meine called the commission's action "intolerable."
The EU has long warned Germany to eliminate a rule allowing Volkswagen's home state of Lower Saxony -- the company's second-largest shareholder -- to block major decisions.
EU leaders say the law violates guidelines guaranteeing companies the right to invest in any part of the 27-nation bloc.
German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries has said that Germany already scrapped a provision that capped shareholders' voting rights at 20 percent regardless of the number of shares they held.
But Berlin has insisted on keeping a provision stating that "significant decisions" require the approval of shareholders representing 80 percent of Volkswagen's stock, plus one share, at the annual general meeting.
That would allow a shareholder with 20 percent of the stock to maintain a blocking minority -- Lower Saxony holds just over 20 percent, and state governor Christian Wulff has ruled out selling any of the stake.
Volkswagen's biggest shareholder -- fellow German automaker Porsche, which has a 31 percent stake and has said it plans to raise that to a majority holding -- opposes the government's stance.
Porsche has called for the threshold for major decisions to be lowered to 75 percent in keeping with standard German securities laws.