Daily Management Review

The Netherlands and France are arguing over Air France-KLM


The French government did not appreciate purchase of a large stake in the airline by the Netherlands authorities.

Aero Icarus
Aero Icarus
A diplomatic conflict is brewing between Amsterdam and Paris due to the desire of both countries to "respect national interests" when making decisions with regards to Air France-KLM. The Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands on Tuesday, February 26, announced acquisition of a 12.68% stake in the airline.

The ministry said the Netherlands "wants a share equivalent to the share of the French government." Thus, the government of the Netherlands "wants to be able to directly influence future events in the Air France-KLM holding, so that the interests of the Dutch can be guaranteed in the best possible way." Netherlands Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra noted that the purchase of shares began on February 20 and by February 26 the Netherlands completed acquisition of this package.

On February 27, French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire stated that “the decision of the Dutch government is incomprehensible and unexpected,” adding that he intends to hold consultations on this topic with his counterpart from the Netherlands on Friday, March 1.

French President Emmanuel Macron also responded to the actions of Amsterdam. At the beginning of a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 27, Macron noted:

"The French government was not informed about this decision and its implementation. The government of the Netherlands should clarify its intentions."

At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of Air France-KLM also responded to the increase in the Netherlands’s state participation in the company by publishing a statement stating that this stake was acquired “without any consultation” with the management of Air France-KLM, as well as that the company's board of directors "will closely monitor the consequences of this new participation."

Analysts of the French bank Societe Generale suggested that the purchase from the Netherlands was made in order to get an additional seat on the board of directors of Air France - KLM.

source: reuters.com