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France Seeks EU Telecom Rescue Plan
Oct 2002
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Oct. 29 -- French President Jacques Chirac has called for a rescue plan for the European Union's heavily-indebted telecom companies, the Associated Press (AP) reported Monday.

At a two-day summit of European leaders, Chirac said a European policy is needed to save the telecom industry in the 15 nations that comprise the EU, and asked the European Commission to work on proposals for a summit in March.

Chirac complained about the billions of euros companies had paid in auctions for next-generation mobile phone licenses, the AP reported. The auctions were "scandalous," he said. "They imposed a heavy financial burden."

Chirac said European telecom companies, "the leaders in the world," risk losing that position, and blamed the debt left after the auctions for the loss of 200,000 jobs.

France Telecom SA has been one of the companies hit hardest by the slump in the sector. The French government, which owns 55 percent of France Telecom, is considering several options to help the company overcome its troubles, the AP said.

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