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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 12:20 GMT
Leaders address Airbus concerns
Airbus A380 plane
European leaders are concerned over job cuts
German and French leaders are in talks to address how an overhaul of Airbus will affect their respective countries and try to resolve their differences.

Airbus postponed announcing a major overhaul on Tuesday, after European partners failed to agree on a deal.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who has been speaking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, called for "fair" job cuts.

Airbus is seeking cost cuts after major delays to its flagship A380 superjumbo.

'Equitable distribution'

There needs to be an equitable distribution of efforts between the countries
Dominique de Villepin, French Prime Minister

Weekend reports had said that German members on the board of Airbus parent EADS prevented a proposed restructuring plan.

"This company is largely Franco-German, very European and there needs to be an equitable distribution of efforts between the countries," Mr Villepin said.

Mr Villepin confirmed that Airbus wanted to cut some 10,000 jobs, but added that there should be no forced redundancies.

EADS says Airbus needs to reduce its costs by 5bn euros ($6.6bn; 3.4bn) by 2010 to increase productivity and counter losses.

The firm plays an important role in Germany and France, as well as the UK and Spain.

The main airbus factory is based in Toulouse and the French government owns 15% of EADS, while French media firm Lagardere owns 7.5%.

German firm DaimlerChrysler owns a stake of approximately 22.5%.

Meanwhile, Airbus employs more than 10,000 staff in Hamburg, its main German plant, and more than 11,000 in the UK.

The next regular Franco-German summit on Friday is set to raise the Airbus issue again and Ms Merkel is due to meet President Jacques Chirac, said Mr Villepin.


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