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France, Germany urge Brussels to protect industry - paper

PARIS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - France, Germany and five other European Union countries urged the bloc's executive arm on Thursday to protect struggling manufacturing industry from unfair competition on the global stage, the French daily Les Echos reported.

Industry ministers from seven countries - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Romania - sent a letter to the European Commission calling for a change in policy, the paper said.

"Brussels is preventing us from coming up to par in the unfair global competition," French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told Les Echos, according to excerpts of an interview to be published on Friday.

Industrial production across the 27-member bloc has shrunk in the past five years and millions of jobs have been lost, with the automobile sector having to cut overcapacity in France, Spain and Italy.

(Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

((nicholas.vinocur@thomsonreuters.com)(+33 1 4949 5188)(Reuters Messaging: nicholas.vinocur.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: FRANCE INDUSTRY/