Opel is a ‘special case’ and exceptional support measures to save it are justified, European Union (EU) Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen has said.

“I think these are exceptional circumstances, which do not apply to other European constructors and which justify consideration of exceptional measures,” the commissioner from Germany told the European Parliament.

Verheugen said Opel is a “special case” in Europe because its difficulties are “solely caused by the crisis situation at General Motors in the United States.”

Verheugen had earlier said European carmakers would get “not a cent” beyond existing help for research and development projects.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has voiced support for soft loans to EU carmakers through the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help them develop greener cars.

But he warned any national support measure should be in line with EU state aid rules and be timely, targeted and temporary.