The European Commission is scrutinizing national schemes to support ailing car industries and has once more warned against protectionism.

Support measures from from France, Spain, Britain, Italy, Germany and Sweden are being looked at according to EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"Protectionism is not what the overall industry or the people of Europe need. We must lay down a clear red line in this regard," Kroes said at a press briefing.

She said the Commission, which had raised initial concerns that the French scheme may breach single market and state aid rules, was in close contact with the French authorities and would find a solution in the end.

Reuters reported that when asked about Opel, Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said aid could only be permitted if it guarantees the long-term survival of the company.

The Spanish government this month approved a EUR4bn (US$5.1bn) package to help carmakers and protect jobs.

The Commission said the scheme was the second largest in Europe in terms of total funding, ahead of Germany's EUR2bn programme and Britain's EUR3bn scheme.

France plans to lend its carmakers EUR6bn over five years in return for a pledge not to close sites in France.