The Automotive Regulatory Framework of the Next 10 Years
THIS CONSULTATION IS NOW CLOSED - deadline for submission was Friday 15 April 2005
Public Consultation: The Automotive Regulatory Framework of the Next 10 Years
One of the strategic objectives of the Commission in the coming years is to work, in partnership with the European Parliament and the Council, towards creating long-term prosperity in Europe, and in particular to restore sustainable dynamic growth and jobs, in accordance with the Lisbon strategy. This overall objective was confirmed on 2 February by President Barroso in agreement with Vice-President Verheugen in a Communication to the Spring European Council - COM(2005)24 [590 KB] . Delivering on this far-reaching goal will require not only horizontal actions affecting all enterprises, but also vertical initiatives, focusing on the specificities of particular sectors.
On the sectoral side, calls for a reflection on the challenges faced by the European automotive sector have been made in the past months, particularly with regard to the regulatory environment and its effects on the competitiveness of the industry. Indeed, the European automotive industry is facing important challenges:
- It lags behind the US and Japan in terms of productivity. Labour productivity in the EU-15 is 25% lower than in the US and 30% lower than in Japan.
- Labour costs per hour worked in the EU-15 are comparable to those in the US, but more than 10% above those in Japan and almost three times as high as in Korea.
- There are major technological challenges ahead, most prominently the fuel cell. Competition and innovation will be key determinants for the viability and strength of Europe's automobile industry.
The Commission has met these calls by setting up a high level group of key stakeholders in the sector, both from the economic and the regulatory sides. The launching of this group, called CARS 21 ("Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st Century") was announced on 13 January 2005 by Vice-President Verheugen.
The overall objective of the CARS 21 group is to make recommendations for increasing the worldwide competitiveness of the EU automotive industry, while maximising the benefits for European society and industry through a comprehensive approach to the sector.
In parallel with the work of CARS 21, the Commission is organising this wider public consultation of stakeholders, with the aim of gathering the opinion of interested parties on the best regulatory framework for the European automotive sector. This public consultation will be followed by a hearing of senior level industry and civil society representatives, planned to take place on 21 April.
Scope and Objectives
This consultation seeks to gather the views of all interested parties on the most appropriate regulatory framework which is conducive to the sustainable development and long-term competitiveness for the European automotive sector. As part of the Commission's initiative to evaluate and increase the worldwide competitiveness of the European automotive industry, the main objective is to define a strategy to improve the framework affecting this sector in a comprehensive way. Therefore it is of particular interest to this exercise to learn about your views on the interaction between different policies, and how to bring them forward in a way that maximizes the benefits for the European society and economic operators as a whole.
A wide range of policies affect the European automotive industry, including transport, environment, R&D, taxation, intellectual property, competition and many others. The European Competitiveness Report 2004 stresses that the competitiveness of the automotive industry "depends on a coherent and cost-effective regulatory framework" (Chapter 4, section 4.7, p. 226). In that regard, the report points at a number of challenges to be addressed in the future, in particular its excessive complexity, the need to take into account possible conflicts between regulations, their cumulative impact as well as their external aspects.
In order to facilitate the consolidation and analysis of responses, it is advised to structure your contribution around the headings listed below, i.e. competitiveness, road safety, environment and better regulation.
Without prejudice to other policy areas, specific chapters on road safety and environmental protection have been identified separately because of the comparative weight of European legislation in these areas affecting motor vehicles.
The European Competitiveness report 2004 defines competitiveness in the context of a single industrial sector as "the ability to defend and/or to gain market share in open, international markets by relying on price and/or the quality of goods" (Chapter 4, section 4.3.1, p. 168). Although based on global performance the report concludes that the European industry today is competitive, it warns of the existence of major technological challenges ahead, with competition and innovation continuing to be the main factors of the viability and strength of the industry.
- Road Safety
Road safety risks are still unacceptably high with the present rate of 46.000 deaths per year in the EU-25, at least 2 million injuries and an economic cost of 200 billion Euro. Road safety improvement is therefore a major societal and economic imperative for the future.
Environmental protection is a challenge in all major automotive markets (the US, Japan and the EU). Air pollution is a source of important health and environment problems and climate change is a major threat. Fuel quality and availability are closely linked to this question.
- Better Regulation
While the previous chapters concern the substance of the policies, the question under this heading refers to how to best introduce these policies, to define the best regulatory approach(es). This refers mainly to the regulatory process, the instruments used and the implementation methods.
Related documentation on the issues raised in this consultation:
- Press release "EU car industry: Commission announces initiatives to boost competitiveness" (IP/05/31)
- Key Indicators on the competitiveness of the EU'S automotive Industry, MEMO/05/7
- European Competitiveness report 2004 - Chapter 4: "The European automotive industry: competitiveness, challenges and future strategies" (extract from the full European Competitiveness report 2004)