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Brussels, 26th April 2005

[Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

The future of EU car industry: Stakeholders have their say

Today, consumer organisations, car manufacturers, fuel producers, the distribution and aftermarket sector, environmental and transport safety interest groups, technical services, trade unions and EU institutions are meeting in Brussels to exchange views about of the best regulatory framework for the automotive sector in the EU. The hearing is part of the European Commission’s effort to have all views represented in this debate. Especially those stakeholders who are represented in the High Level Group should be heard. This is why a stakeholder consultation via the Internet was launched in February. The hearing today is complementing that consultation. The contributions from all stakeholders will be fed into this process and will be taken into account as part of the Commission’s appraisal of the whole exercise.

Vice-President Günter Verheugen highlighted the importance of the automotive sector as “a pillar of the European economy” and a key towards achieving the Commission’s overarching objectives of “long-term prosperity in Europe, and in particular the restoration of sustainable and dynamic growth and jobs”. “The contributions through the consultation and this hearing will constitute an important element in the process of identifying a clear policy and a predictable regulatory framework for the automotive sector for the years to come”, he said.

In today’s hearing, senior level industry and society representatives discuss the competitiveness of the automotive manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket sector, environment, road safety and competitiveness.

At its first meeting on 11 April, the High Level Group agreed to draw up, by the end of the year, a roadmap identifying the public policy measures to be adopted in the automotive area in the next ten years. The idea is that such a roadmap would provide for a stable regulatory environment and would allow identifying initiatives and their timing in such a way as to minimise their negative interaction and cumulative impact.

The EU is the largest automotive production region (34%) in the world. The automotive sector represents 3% of Europe’s GDP. The industry comprises 7.5% of the manufacturing sector in the Union.

A total of 10 million people are directly or indirectly employed in the automotive sector representing 7% of employment in the manufacturing sector in the EU. In 2002 the EU motor vehicle exports were worth €66.2 billion, more than double the €30.4 billion of imports for the same period.

The results of these initiatives will serve as a basis for the Commission’s approach towards a future regulatory framework for this sector to be proposed next year.

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