AM Online

EC prepares to take Germany to European Court over 'VW Law'

The German government has been stout in its resistance to the European Commission's calls to dismantle the regulations that block foreign bids for Volkswagen, but an EC spokesperson has said, “We are now planning to go ahead with next step in the procedure”, though the matter has reportedly yet to be formally discussed in Brussels.

The so-called Volkswagen Law', which prevents any other shareholder from exceeding the nearly 20% stake held by the German state of Nieder-Sachsen (Lower Saxony), runs counter to the EU Directive on takeovers, which was agreed in late 2003. The EC has been critical of the VW Law for three years, but has so far held back from legal action while its take-over Directive was being negotiated with member states including Germany.

German premier Gerhard Schroeder is a former board director of VW, a post he held when he was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony – hence the EC's hesitancy to act in the matter.

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