The future of General Motors' Opel, Vauxhall and Saab divisions should be settled at a European level and not country by country, Belgium's prime minister, and the premier of the Flanders region where Opel's Antwerp factory employs 2,600 workers, has said.

They have written to the European Commission and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel to say that forcing other EU states to follow Germany's lead in finding a solution is wrong.

Flemish Premier Kris Peeters told Belgian radio VRT:   "We cannot get into a situation where everyone is trying to outdo each other, in which we see how much money Germany can put on the table and how much we can."

Flanders has offered EUR300m (US$419.1m) in credit guarantees to Opel.

Germany's government is due to decide later today which of three bidders from Fiat, Magna International and RHJ International it would back.

The final decision rests with GM which has said it will take a minority stake in a new Opel/Vauxhall company. GM is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US by the end of this week.