BERLIN - A German-brokered deal to rescue Opel will not collapse due to a lack of support from other European countries hosting the carmaker's plants, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman was quoted as saying on Thursday.
The assurances came as German media reported that Spain had told Berlin it could not provide any money for the deal, which foresees a takeover of the former General Motors unit by Canadian automotive firm Magna.
An agreement on this won't fail, Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told German daily Financial Times Deutschland. We're in good talks with our European partners and are working towards a joint solution.
In order to push through the deal, Germany offered to stump up 4.5 billion euros in guarantees for Opel, saying it would agree later on how this sum was split among countries with plants -- which include Britain, Spain, Poland and Belgium.
However, German media, including the daily Die Welt, reported that Spain had informed Germany it was currently not able to support Magna's business plan for Opel.
A spokesman for Spain's industry ministry confirmed that a letter had been sent but said its contents were unknown.
Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian will not attend a meeting called by the German government on Friday to discuss the takeover plans because of unhappiness over Magna's bid for Opel, the ministry spokesman added.
However, Sebastian is expected to attend a meeting with Magna's chief executive, Siegfried Wolf, the Spanish industry ministry spokesman added.
Spain has already expressed its discontent over Magna's plan to buy 55 percent of Opel from General Motors, but has said it would back a European solution that guaranteed the future of Opel's plant in Zaragoza.
About half of Opel's 50,000 European jobs are in Germany.
Magna and its Russian partner Sberbank have vowed to inject 500 million euros into Opel, which they want to use to make an aggressive push into the Russian market.
They plan to cut about 10,000 European jobs, a quarter of those in Germany, but have committed to keeping all the German plants running. Opel's Antwerp plant in Belgium and Vauxhall sites in England are seen to be at risk. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Carlos Ruano; Editing by Gary Hill)