The new French government must allow French car companies to compete. France's Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen are under severe pressure. They need the flexibility to manage their businesses in a global market. No automaker exists in a national vacuum.
Renault and PSA have been slow to learn that lesson. But a new generation of managers is trying to make the French companies more international and more cost-competitive.
The closure of Renault's Vilvoorde plant in Belgium is a modest step for a company that lost about $1 billion in 1996. And plans at both companies to cut employment through early retirements are not unreasonable.
Lionel Jospin's Socialists are putting the cost-cutting strategies of Renault and PSA under close scrutiny. There's nothing wrong with that, but the French politicians must concede that there is a a world outside French politics.