The German government does not expect the European Commission to thwart General Motors' plan to sell a controlling stake in Opel to Magna, a spokesman said on Friday.

"The government is optimistic that any issues can be resolved," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told Reuters at a regular news conference in Berlin.

Germany has pledged to provide EUR4.5bn (US$6.58bn) in financing guarantees under the deal, although it expects other European states with Opel plants to contribute to this total.

After GM's lead Opel sale negotiator John Smith indicated that Magna might close the Antwerp, Belgium, Astra plant, the head of the Flemish government called on the commission to probe conditions attached to this state aid.

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