Blank cheque to EU car industry will not steer it out of the crisis

Press release - November 8, 2012
Brussels – The European Commissioner for industry Antonio Tajani today released an EU action plan for the troubled automobile industry. Greenpeace warned that the plan fails to give the sector a clear path out of the crisis.

Commissioner Tajani wants unconditional financial support for car companies in the form of loans and research grants from the European Investment Bank, as well as more compensation for laid off workers from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The plan also stresses the need for "rigorous" competitiveness-proofing of any new regulatory measures.

However, the plan fails to acknowledge measures to limit the automobile sector's impact on climate change contained in an earlier action plan by Commissioner Tajani. The 2010 plan for Clean and Efficient Vehicles included a strategy to lower carbon emissions from lorries and a review of EU rules on CO2 labelling for cars.

Greenpeace EU transport policy director Franziska Achterberg said: "Commissioner Tajani is helping the car industry by giving it unconditional financial support irrespective of its ability to innovate and reduce its climate footprint. But European carmakers will only be competitive if they deliver on environmental technologies. This isn't going to happen without regulation."

"It is a myth that car plants are closing down because of regulation. The reality is that there are just too many plants that are running well under full capacity. Effective regulation would instead help steer the industry in the right direction and improve its competitiveness," added Achterberg.

Greenpeace and transport group Transport & Environment have written to Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Tajani calling on the Commission to link any support to the automobile industry to strict environmental requirements:

Franziska Achterberg – Greenpeace EU transport policy director:
+32 498 362403,


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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.