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Europe sets out plans to support automotive industry

The European Commission has announced concrete actions to support the automotive industry in reaction to the current economic situation.

It is in response to the adoption of the CARS 21 report, which sets out an industrial policy strategy for the sector towards 2020.

Planned actions concern providing EU financing for research, in particular to help the sector adapt to the technologies of tomorrow, and reinforcing European Investment Bank lending to industry; managing the sector's costs by applying the principles of smart regulation; and supporting the internationalisation of EU industry by improving market access through trade negotiations and work on regulatory and procedural convergence with the ultimate aim of achieving a worldwide car type approval.

The Cars 21 report sets out a complete vision for the automotive industry in 2020 providing recommendations for rapid progress on important subjects such as electro-mobility, road safety, market access strategy and a review of the CO2 emissions from cars and vans.

European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, said: "The CARS 21 report provides useful input for the important strategic vision for the automotive industry in 2020 which we will present after the summer.

“But the automotive industry needs to be in good shape first in order to realise this vision.

“We therefore need to act now and decisively in order to counter current economic difficulties by mobilising financing for research, carefully evaluating any new regulation and supporting the expansion on third markets”.

 > The CARS 21 report

The European Commission said the proposed measures will form its action plan supporting the automotive industry, which will be adopted in the autumn of this year.

It will also establish an annual meeting of the CARS 2020 group in order to monitor the progress of the implementation.

At the European carmakers trade body ACEA, president Sergio Marchionne said it was essential that the findings are implemented and real action taken as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately, CARS 21 recommendations have often been ignored in the past and we are seeing worrying signals again,” said Marchionne.

He highlighted, in particular, the way in which Europe is conducting free trade negotiations.

“CARS 21 rightly emphasises that trade relations should deliver reciprocal benefits, that tariffs should be eliminated and non-tariff barriers dismantled.

"However, the EU always appears ready to compromise on these conditions as experience has shown with South-Korea and other examples”, said Marchionne. “Trade policy and industrial policy must be aligned and reliable.”

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