The French government could absorb debts of the state-owned SNCF rail company, the prime minister said on
Wednesday, in a last-gasp bid to defuse a dispute between management and employees over working conditions and end a week-long strike.
Manuel Valls made the announcement in parliament two days before the Euro 2016 soccer championship kicks off in France.
Valls said some form of debt relief fund could be created, but did not elaborate on the scale of relief planned for SNCF, whose debts amount to some 50 billion euros ($56.96 billion).
Valls said his government would report to lawmakers in August on the rail company’s debt and financial prospects.
“The report will go into the various options for the state to take over all or part of the debt and the creation of a debt amortisation fund,” he told the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament.
It was not immediately clear whether the suggestion could lead to a rise in France’s overall public debt and a possible confrontation with the country’s euro zone partners over rules governing the management of national deficits and public debt.
In Brussels, the European Commission declined comment.