Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Policy and strategy

Policy and strategy

Providing 12 million jobs, the automotive industry is a key EU employer. Due to its strong economic links to many other industrial sectors, it has an important multiplier effect in the economy. At the same time, road transport emissions continue to represent a main source of air pollution. The aim of the EU’s policy in the automotive sector is to establish an internal market for vehicles, ensure a high level of environmental protection and safety, strengthen competitiveness, and provide a stable level playing field for the industry.

Skills in the automotive sector

Matching skills demand and supply is a growing challenge for the automotive sector. The 'Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills' is a new industry-led approach to implement sectoral skills strategies. It was piloted in 6 sectors, including in the automotive sector. In January 2018, the Blueprint on sectoral cooperation on skills for automotive launched its Skills Alliance under the project called 'Development and Research on Innovative Vocational Education Skills (DRIVES)'. More information on skills and DRIVES.

European Battery Alliance

For Europe, battery production is a strategic imperative for clean energy transition and the competitiveness of its automotive sector. The European Battery Alliance was launched in October 2017 and major progress has been made since.

Connected & Automated Mobility

Cars and other vehicles are increasingly equipped with driver assistance systems, and fully autonomous vehicles are just around the corner. On 17 May 2018, the Commission proposed a strategy for automated and connected mobility systems, aiming to make Europe a world leader. The strategy looks at a new level of cooperation between road users, which could potentially bring enormous benefits for the mobility system as a whole.

Commission Communication COM/2018/283 (On the road to automated mobility: An EU strategy for mobility of the future)

High Level Group on Automotive Industry 'GEAR 2030'

The High Level Group GEAR 2030 was formally established on the basis of the Commission Decision C(2015) 6943 (89 kB) of 19 October 2015.

GEAR 2030 analysed and discussed the key trends and challenges which will affect the automotive industry over the next 15 years. 

The group made recommendations to reinforce the competitiveness of the European automotive value chain. They produced jointly agreed roadmaps that set objectives, specify milestones and clearly define the responsibilities of different stakeholders.

Competitiveness of the automotive industry

To enhance competitiveness in the EU's automotive industry, the Commission has been focusing on improvements in four main areas:

  • smart regulation
  • international harmonisation
  • bilateral regulatory dialogues
  • access to finance and market access support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Smart regulation

Automotive products are regulated through EU laws for vehicle type-approval. To improve the level playing field, increase the trust of consumers, and reduce administrative burden, all policy proposals are subject to competitiveness proofing.

International harmonisation

Global technical harmonisation is a key factor in strengthening the competitiveness of the EU's automotive industry. Common technical requirements, like those under the UNECE framework, reduce development costs and avoid the duplication of administrative procedures. More on harmonisation.

Bilateral regulatory dialogues

Bilateral regulatory dialogues help ensure coherent regulations between Europe and non-EU countries. The EU focuses on promoting a common approach to saving energy, reducing emissions, and mitigating the impact of burdensome certification measures.

Access to finance and market access support for SMEs

  • COSME - small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger firms in the automotive sector can benefit from improved access to debt and equity finance;
  • SME instrument - provides finance for research undertaken by highly innovative automotive SMEs.