Belgium looking at nationalising ArcelorMittal steel plant

This is in an echo of a French plan that caused stand-off with world's largest steelmaker last year.

Written by Reuters | Brussels | Published: May 31, 2013 1:20 am

The government of Belgium’s Wallonia region is considering whether to nationalise ArcelorMittal’s steelworks in Liege,in an echo of a French plan that caused a stand-off with the world’s largest steelmaker last year.

ArcelorMittal said in January it would shut most facilities at the Liege site with the likely loss of around 1,300 jobs due to weakening demand for steel in Europe.

“It’s a measure that exists (in some countries). When the general interest is impacted,countries can take over major sites that put the economy of a country in peril,” said a spokesman for the region’s economy minister Jean-Claude Marcourt. He said the Walloon government would examine whether to pass a law to nationalise the site,although it could be several months before such legislation is enacted.

A taskforce set up by Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was examining the future of the plant. ArcelorMittal declined to comment.

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