Undated (AP) _ PARIS (AP) - Outraged at losing jobs to a fellow European Community member, the government Thursday threatened legal action opposing plans by the U.S. vacuum cleaner company Hoover to shift its French operations to Scotland.

If such cost-cutting moves become common, said one Cabinet minister, ''there will be no Europe at all.''

Hoover, a unit of the Maytag Corp., announced this week that it would eliminate 600 of 700 jobs at its factory outside Dijon to add 400 jobs to its factory in Cambuslang, near Glasgow, where Scottish workers have agreed to cuts in pay and benefits.

The Dijon plant, which would still handle distribution in France, has been shut down by a protest strike since Monday.

Richard Rankin, marketing director for Hoover-Europe, defended the company's choice and offered to meet with French officials.

''We made logical decisions in the face of a company expenditure and profitability problem,'' Rankin told RTL radio.

He said the Scottish factory was big enough to absorb the entire production operation, and the regrouping would ''bring about a significant reduction in production costs.''

The opening of borders within the 12-nation EC has given companies new opportunities to increase their profitability with fewer legislative controls. But some officials worry the increased corporate freedom may come at the expense of workers.

Without legislative controls of some sort ''social conditions may move back to those of the last century,'' said French Agriculture Minister Jean-Pierre Soisson.

''If European countries accept among themselves'' operations such as the Hoover transfer, ''there will be no Europe at all,'' Soisson said.

On Wednesday, about 1,300 people marched in protest in Dijon against Hoover's decision. President Francois Mitterrand described the transfer as a ''kind of plundering,'' and Premier Pierre Beregovoy said he would lodge a complaint at EC headquarters in Brussels.

''The Hoover move is totally unacceptable,'' Beregovoy said. ''Aid was provided in Scotland. That assistance must be authorized by the Commission... But there should be no approval if that assistance works to destroy jobs elsewhere.''

Rankin said the company did not receive assistance from the EC.

''We received funding from the Scottish office. It's assistance that is about the same as that offered'' by the French authorities, he said.

Soisson, who is president of the regional council of Burgundy where the Hoover factory is located, said that the British press had announced the factory transfer while the French government and local unions were negotiating with Hoover over the granting of French aid to the Longvic factory.

He said he would ask lawyers to contact Maytag in the United States to warn of the political risk of acting in an ''unacceptable manner.''

The leader of one of France's biggest labor federations, Marc Blondel of Workers Force, said in an interview published Thursday in the financial newspaper Les Echos that EC must establish norms for protecting workers' rights.