MOSCOW (Sputnik) – French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that Amsterdam should explain its purchase of 12.7 percent stake in Air France-KLM airline holding, which took Paris by surprise and sent the company’s shares tumbling.
“The French government had not been informed of this decision and its implementation. I am making a note of that. This is now the responsibility of the Dutch government to clarify its intentions in this case, and that is why the minister of economy and finance [Bruno Le Maire] invited his Dutch counterpart to come to Paris to be able to explain,” Macron told reporters.
Commenting on the purchase, Le Maire said that the holding should be governed without any state interference.
The demand referred to the Tuesday’s announcement by Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra that Amsterdam had bought 12.68 percent stake in the holding of two national carriers and would attempt to eventually equal France’s stake of 14.3 percent. Hoekstra said Amsterdam decided to interfere as more and more key decisions were being made at the level of the holding.
Hoekstra has reportedly written to the Dutch parliament to explain that a new management structure in Air France-KLM was eroding balance. The minister cited recent arguments between the two branches over who should lead the Dutch arm. Employees of KLM and Dutch officials supported incumbent CEO Pieter Elbers after reports that the holding’s head, Ben Smith, was considering replacing him. Elbers was reappointed president of KLM last week.