FRANKFURT -- The simplest solution in a battle over a German law that that the EU says protects Volkswagen from a hostile takeover would be for the German state of Lower Saxony to sell its stake in the carmaker, a senior European Commission official was quoted on Wednesday as saying.
The Commission is considering whether to take legal steps against the law, which it says effectively gives Lower Saxony a blocking minority that helps safeguard local jobs and makes sure the company does not fall under control of a foreign manufacturer.
The government of Lower Saxony, where Volkswagen is based, has just under 20 percent of VW's common stock and 20 percent of the voting rights.
The EU executive argues that the law is a barrier to freedom of investment and breaches EU treaty rules.
"The simplest thing would be for Lower Saxony to sell its stake in Volkswagen," said Alexander Schaub, head of the Commission's Internal Market division, according to an advance copy of an interview with Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung to be published on Thursday.
An EU source said on Wednesday the Commission was set to delay by a week a discussion on possible action against the law to avoid clash with a meeting of finance ministers next week.
The discussion had been set for March 19. The Commission had suspended a previous debate on March 5 after divisions emerged within the 20-member European Union executive, EU officials say.
The EU source said newly elected Lower Saxony state Premier Christian Wulff would come to Brussels on Wednesday to meet Commission President Romano Prodi and Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein.