Germany brokers deal on A400M transport

After an arduous negotiation process in Berlin, Germany and six other European nations finally struck a deal with EADS late on Friday for completing the development of the Airbus A400M military transport plane.

Germany brokers deal on A400M transport
Photo: DPA

The deal secured 10,000 jobs and the future of Airbus and the A400M project, and will cost the taxpayers from the seven countries a total of €3.5 billion. The governments and the EADS/Airbus aerospace company have agreed to share the cost overruns that have dogged the four-engined military plane.

The German Luftwaffe is now set to take delivery of its first plane in 2014, five years later than originally planned. The Airbus is intended replace old C-160 Transall planes, particularly in Afghanistan.

In 2003, Airbus agreed to construct 180 A400Ms for a fixed price of €20 billion, with the first planes to be delivered in 2009. Germany ordered sixty of the planes, and France fifty. But political blunders and technical delays hampered production, and the maiden test flight did not take place until last December in Seville, Spain.

Friday’s deal came about after Airbus threatened to pull the plug unless the seven – Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey – stump up more cash, warning that the fate of the European aerospace giant depended on the project.

Along with the €2.4 billion the countries has already written off on the project, the problematic development of the plane will have cost Europe’s major aerospace nations €4.2 billion. Despite the long-awaited bailout, EADS is set to post a net loss for 2009, although detailed figures will not released until March 9.

“EADS considers that this agreement provides a sound basis for a successful evolution of the A400M program,” the company said in a statement. “EADS will strive to identify opportunities to significantly reduce risks in the A400M program and to deliver a state-of-the-art product within the new frame of the contract.”

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Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.