Extracts from the joint press conference by Günter Verheugen and Neelie Kroes on the situation in the European Car Industry
At a press conference on 25/02/2009 in Brussels, Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry, and Neelie Kroes, Member of the EC in charge of Competition, presented a European Commission's communication to support the European car industry in their efforts to withstand the crisis, soften negative effects and ensure long-term competitiveness.
Building on the European Economic Recovery Plan of 2008, it sets various measures to improve access to credit, to clarify the rules for granting state aid in the particular circumstances, to boost the demand for new vehicles through coordinated national actions, to minimise social costs and retain the skilled workforce and to defend fair competition in open markets.
State aid schemes for ailing domestic car industries have been developed in France, Spain, UK, Sweden and Italy, sparking questions from the European Commission over protectionism and illegal state aid. The German government is now also considering a bailout of its car maker Opel.