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Marchionne: “EU must counter economic headwind with a strong industrial policy"
Brussels, 28 February 2012 – The EU needs to urgently refocus on its industrial future and address the fundamental issues that constrain the region’s competitiveness in a global perspective, steering away from the short-term national interests that hamper the prosperity of Europe’s citizens in the long run.
This is a summary of the key messages delivered by ACEA President Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A., to decision makers in Brussels, today, during a series of meetings ahead of the trade association’s annual reception.
“Europe is at a critical juncture”, said Marchionne. “Markets around the world are justifiably nervous about the region’s ability to resolve mounting sovereign debt and spending deficits. This second crisis follows close on the heels of a global recession, whose effects have not yet been completely overcome. Europe must counter the economic headwind with a strong industrial policy to underpin Europe’s manufacturing base,” argued Marchionne. “The pillars of economic growth and of future prosperity must be strengthened to secure the future of Europe and its citizens.”
The ACEA President predicted a challenging year for Europe and for the automobile industry. In terms of auto sales in Europe, the “most optimistic forecast” is that new vehicle registrations in Europe will be flat through 2014. “The fact is that, today, very few manufacturers make money in Europe”, said Marchionne. “This is not sustainable, and it has to change.” He called for an open an honest debate about the underlying factors, including the issue of excess capacity. “The future will be different. And I challenge us all to say: the future will be better.”
Marchionne assured his counterparts in Brussels that the European auto industry wants to be part of shaping the future for the region. “The European automobile industry is a world leader, operating globally. At the same time, we are fully part of European society and its local communities”, he said. “We’re in the DNA of Europe, and Europe is in our DNA.”
The European automotive industry is key to the strength and competitiveness of Europe. The sector provides direct employment to more than 2.3 million people and indirectly supports another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest over €26 billion in R&D, or 5% of turnover.
The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT S.p.A., Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, IVECO S.p.A, Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Truck & Bus, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault Group, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group.
For further information, please contact Sigrid de Vries, Director Communications,
Welcome message to the ACEA annual reception 2012 by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
Note to editors:
Sergio Marchionne and Ivan Hodac, Secretary general of ACEA, had meetings scheduled with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Employment Commissioner Lazló Andor, Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani, as well as with MEPs from various parties and Member States.
In these meetings, Marchionne exchanged views about the state of the European economy and the need for a more coherent industrial policy. He focused on the key contributions that the European automobile industry strives to make to European society and economy, and emphasized what is needed from the policy framework.
Listed below are excerpts from the briefing notes taken to the meetings:
The automobile industry’s contribution to the future of a prosperous Europe:
- A competitive industry that benefits communities, governments and manufacturers alike.
- The retention of R&D in Europe, and a commitment to next-generation technology “made in Europe.”
- An engine of prosperity and employment through the production of world class products.
- A concern for a humane transition for affected work forces if adjustments are to be made.
- A continued focus on new and improved skills, and a driver of high-quality education.
- Advanced environmental and safety technologies that contribute to sustainable mobility and transportation for consumers.
The essential framework conditions for a competitive industry in Europe are:
- A visionary and long-term industrial policy that strengthens manufacturing and encourages innovation.
- A regulatory framework that secures and attracts investment.
- Reduced cost of regulation by adopting a true integrated approach;
- Sufficient lead-time to implement new rules and to allow for a return on investment.
- Flexibility in meeting regulatory deadlines in troublesome times; consider a ‘Flexibility Pact.’
- Promotion of R&D in partnership between governments, academia and corporations.
- The highest standards in education and academia to prepare future generations to meet the challenges ahead, and to keep our young and bright Europeans in the region.
- Use of EU policy instruments and community funding mechanisms to support regional labour adjustment that ensure flexibilities in employment law.
- A visionary, integrated transportation policy which furthers sustainable mobility by including the innovations and insights of the industrial and transportation sectors.
- Improved market access around the globe and fair competition and reciprocity in trade relations.
- The negotiations between the EU and India are heading in the wrong direction.
- The European Union is too easily prepared to lower its barriers while allowing others to keep theirs up, at the expense of a key industry for growth, jobs and technology leadership at home.
- Recording of the Press Conference with ACEA President Sergio Marchionne and ACEA Secretary-General Ivan Hodac. First 30 seconds are low volume
- Speech by Sergio Marchionne at 2012 ACEA Reception
- Automobile Manufacturers Call for Change of Direction in EU Trade Negotiations
Page last updated 28/02/12
Market & Economy
- Diesel Emissions Conference, & Adblue Forum 2013 Europe, 18-20 June 2013. ACEA members get a 20% discount on the registration fee.
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- ACEA Annual Transport Policy Event 2012: How Can Policy Reflect Changing Transport Demands? 6 December 2012,Brussels. Click here for more...
- Our Future Mobility Now "Innovation for Europe, Skills for the Future" Roundtable 10 October 2012. Click here for more...