France, Italy announce major naval partnership
7 October, 2017
France and Italy struck a deal last week that will allow Italian firm Fincantieri to effectively take control of STX France, a strategic French shipyard, ending a long-lasting dispute. French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking alongside Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni in Lyon, called the agreement creating a European naval industry behemoth a “win-win deal”.
Under the deal, Fincantieri will effectively hold a 51-percent stake in STX France, while Paris and Rome will explore the creation of a Franco-Italian naval defence group, merging French military shipyards company Naval Group with Fincantieri, Macron's office said. The two countries hope such a deal can be struck by June 2018, creating a pan-European naval defence champion similar to the combined rail engineering group created a week ago via the tie-up between the rail businesses of France's Alstom and Germany's Siemens.
France sees the creation of European industrial giants as crucial to warding off the threat posed by global powers such as China and the US.