Bailouts are tied to conditions, it is the rule that has had to be accepted in the EU, but when the bailout is a German company, the pressure from Berlin threatens to create undesirable exceptions. After the airline reached an agreement for Merkel’s executive to take over 20% of the shares for 9 billion euros for three years, the European Commission has approved the rescue on the condition that Lufthansa cede part of its Slots at the Frankfurt and Munich airports, where it accounts for 65% and would harm competition.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer called the conditions “obstructive”. “These are disproportionate conditions,” said the president of the CSU parliamentary group and former transport minister Alexander Dobrindt. And he also added: «The European Commission is preventing the rescue with its unjustified interference. That is irresponsible behavior towards the committed management of the crisis in Germany. I hope that the Commission will withdraw their inappropriate requests from the table immediately and not further hamper rescue efforts in Germany, but rather give them positive support. ‘
The airline’s management has already announced that it is not capable of accepting the rescue in these conditions, although it continues to consider it its “only option” for survival. It is quite clear that the refusal does not come from the company, but from the Government. Chancellor Merkel herself, even before Lufthansa rejected the conditions, said in a meeting with her party’s leadership that she will never accept that. “Von der Leyen should stop his vice president,” said conservative German MEP Markus Berber in a threatening tone. “An airline that was competitive before the crisis should not be reduced to a regional company. We need a global airline in Europe, ‘he insisted, revealing the true role Germany wants for Lufthansa: to make it the flag carrier of the EU.
Lufthansa employees have sent a letter to Von der Leyen criticizing his conditions as “devastating” and crying out against “injustice”
Lufthansa’s hoarding of slots was one of the reasons for the suffocation of Germania and Air Berlin, which ended in bankruptcy, and are also behind the ten-year delay in the inauguration of the new airport in the capital. A more balanced distribution would benefit Ryanair, Norwegian or WIZZ “low cost” flights. Merkel has waged a “tough fight” to maintain the “slots”, while Lufthansa employees have sent a letter to von der Leyen criticizing his conditions as “devastating” and crying out against “injustice”.
Sources close to the German government say that a Frenchman, Olivier Guersent, is at the forefront of the negotiations in Brussels, and they propose the rescue conditions as a demonstration of power within the EU. .