GM To Decide On European Plants Soon

General Motors plans to decide on the future of its European car making plants within the next two weeks after it reversed a decision to sell Opel and Vauxhall.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Monday that it plans to decide on the future of its European car making plants within the next two weeks.

Nick Reilly, the head of GM's Adam Opel GmbH and Vauxhall divisions, told reporters that he knew workers at plants in Germany, Belgium, Britain, Spain and Poland were waiting to hear about the company's restructuring plans after it reversed a decision to sell the European business.

"We know it is disturbing and unsettling to have this hanging over your head for such a period of time and so we intend to take that decision in a relatively short period of time, approximately two weeks or so," he said after meeting the head of Belgium's Flanders region.

Reilly said the company was weighing different options to cut costs at the troubled Opel unit and "at the end of the day we're going to have to take some tough decisions somewhere in Europe to reduce our capacities."

Belgium is keen to keep Opel's Antwerp plant open and earlier this year offered up to euro500 million to upgrade the facilities. Flanders Premier Kris Peeters said the money was still available under certain conditions, which he did not detail.

Peeters complained earlier that Belgium could not match the amount of financial support that Germany was willing to offer Opel and Opel's potential buyers -- allegedly in return for keeping jobs in Germany while cutting jobs at other European plants.

Any condition protecting German jobs at the expense of other countries would break EU state aid rules.

Under pressure from EU regulators, Germany told GM last month that aid would be available whether it hung onto Opel or sold it to any buyer -- and even if it rejected the Magna and Sberbank offer that Germany openly favored. GM subsequently decided to ditch the planned sale.

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