There will be showdown talks between Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and French finance minister Bruno Le Maire. The latter is representing Renault’s majority 15% stakeholder, the French state. This comes after the collapse of merger talks between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Renault, which was squarely blamed on France.

It is also reported that Senard is furious over the French government’s interference at the carmaker after FCA withdrew its offer for a 35 billion euro merger with Renault.

According to Reuters, Le Maire said the FCA-Renault merger remained an “interesting opportunity” but added that he would tell the French carmaker’s chairman that strengthening the Renault-Nissan alliance – a marriage that’s very much on the rocks at present – is the priority.

“It remains in interesting opportunity. But I have always been very clear: that it should be in the context of a strategy to reinforce the (Renault-Nissan) alliance. As long as the French state is the main shareholder, its responsibility to the company, its employees, its factories and research centers is to fulfill its role with other shareholders in defining a strategy,” he told franceinfo radio.

It’s known that France wanted a buy-in from Nissan, which abstained to vote on the merger proposal. Le Maire denied being the stumbling block in the negotiations, and said that he merely wanted a postponement. “We simply asked for five extra days. Five additional days seems entirely reasonable to me. Fiat withdrew its offer, as it was entitled to do. But believe me, the state will never react under pressure,” he declared.

In any case, Senard has got to move on from recent disappointments and focus on patching up the broken relationship with Nissan. It seems like he’s got the memo. “The priority now is to make the alliance successful, efficient and strong. There won’t be any success for Renault if there is no success for the alliance,” he said during the company’s recent shareholder meeting.

The Renault chief added that a strengthening of the alliance would require efforts from both sides, and even though trust between the two partners had deteriorated, nothing was beyond repair.

It won’t be easy, though. It has been reported that Nissan refused to study Senard’s proposed full merger with Renault – understandably, as it’s seeking more independence – and Renault has blocked governance changes at Nissan and demanded more seats on Nissan’s committees. Those things won’t help.

Perhaps a reduction in Renault’s stake in the bigger Japanese carmaker to make the alliance more equitable would help? Le Maire has said that France was ready to reduce its 15% stake in Renault to win Nissan’s backing. “We can reduce the state’s stake in Renault’s capital. This is not a problem as long as, at the end of the process, we have a more solid auto sector and a more solid alliance between the two great car manufacturers Nissan and Renault,” he told AFP.

Would more independence for Nissan do the trick?