The European Union's supreme court has struck down a law allowing the French government to control Total Fina Elf with a single share, boosting efforts to limit state interference in the economy.
The court ruled that France's veto over management decisions at Europe's biggest oil refiner “constitutes a serious impairment of the fundamental principle of the free movement of capital.” It outlawed similar special voting rights in Portugal, though upheld them in a Belgian case.
The victory for shareholder rights may give a push to mergers and acquisitions and prompt governments to sell off more state holdings. That may make companies more productive at a time when Europe's competitiveness has fallen to the lowest level since the 1960s, when sompared to the US markets.
“It's an encouragement to privatize and is a step in the right direction,” said Jean Marc Lefevre, a mergers and acquisition lawyer at Linklaters & Alliance in Paris. “This will help the French government because it's a good excuse to privatize. The state needs money.”
Representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation commented on the state of affairs in the Sea of Azov
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that Russia will never initiate military actions, including with the use of nuclear weapons