View of STX shipward near the western French city of Saint-Nazaire. Photo: AFP/Loic Venance

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire announced Thursday that France will nationalize the STX shipyard, canceling a takeover by an Italian firm.

The Financial Times played up the move as a rebuke of economic liberalism quoting the Le Maire as saying the decision had a “single objective” to “defend France’s strategic interests in shipbuilding” and guarantee jobs remain in the country.

Le Maire emphasized that the move is temporary, saying “the Saint-Nazaire shipyards are not destined to remain under state control… the pre-emption decision is temporary and should give us the time to negotiate in the best conditions.”

An editorial in Il Sole 24 Ore, however, offered a warning: “The more weeks go by, the more Macronism is showing an old face, it’s the usual France with its protectionist, sovereignist, statist, dirigiste instinct.”