Re: Why does this always come as a surprise to politicians?
Two things - firstly, they may not have thought it all through yet. They may have just said "we need to cut $X from our headcount budget, which is probably Y staff". The senior management will currently be engaged in bunfighting to see whose empire is cut by how much. It doesn't seem like they have even got to this stage.
After that, there's a stage of allocating the cuts to sub-divisions, seeing which factory can do what and working out how best to fill desired capacity with available resource. At that point there will be a rough plan, and this is when the councils/govmts/workers will find out their probable fates.
Following that, in the UK at least, Intel may have to enter into consultancy with the workforce if the cuts are above a certain size. This consultancy may well adjust the plan (although I've not known it to make any significant changes ever), and could potentially get influenced by more govmt cash incentives (if this is legal!). If is no surprise that the party line is "We are not providing site-specific information at this time, and we are still evaluating our plans for Europe."