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Automotive regions call for a European transition strategy  

Adequate funding and stronger focus on skills and technologies are crucial to ensure a fair transition

A European transition strategy is needed to help phase out traditionally fuelled combustion engines, the European Committee of the Regions said in an opinion adopted on on 11 October.The strategy should focus on developing new green and digital technologies, reskilling the workforce, and supporting the most affected regions, also through an adequate assessment of the territorial impact of the digital and green transition of this strategic industry.

In their recommendations, contained in an opinion entitled "A Just and Sustainable Transition for Automotive Regions", local and regional leaders said funds should be released from the current EU budget, which runs until 2027, and that continued support must be ensured including through EU cohesion policy and a possible successor to the Just Transition Mechanism. The CoR’s opinion supports the transition to a climate-neutral automotive industry, arguing that it is essential if the EU is to meet its climate targets, but at the same time emphasises that the transition – the EU is proposing to phase out the sale of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035 – will have a significant impact on regional automotive ecosystems and on workers in the automotive sector.

The automotive industry accounts for more than 7% of EU GDP and currently employs – directly or indirectly – more than 14 million Europeans, equivalent to 6.1% of total employment in the EU.

Rapporteur Sven Schulze (DE/EPP), Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, said: “We must prepare ourselves - and especially the population in the regions - for the transformation process in the automotive industry and remain open to technology. In Saxony-Anhalt, we do not want to create uncertainty for the 25,000 people who work in the supplier industry here, but rather create perspectives.”

CoR members called on the European Commission to conduct a comprehensive territorial impact assessment on the employment consequences of the shift towards a zero-emission automotive industry, as the impact varies across regions and across the supply industry.

The recommendations also emphasise the need for all stakeholders to be involved, including public-private partnerships, and for the EU to use its funds to promote cooperation between industry, small and medium sized enterprises and research and education institutions.

Local and regional governments play a key role in supporting the automotive industry's transition to new technologies and a sustainable future by providing funding, infrastructure, training, and other resources.

Local and regional leaders underlined that electrification of the drive-train will be crucial for the automotive industry and that the focus should be on its value chains, battery efficiency and the manufacture of equipment. Training and education will be needed to ensure the workforce has the skills needed to produce vehicles not driven by combustion engines.

Background:

A just and fair transition towards decarbonising the transport sector is the primary concern of the Automotive Regions Alliance, a political network of regions committed to the successful transition of the European automotive and supply industry. The Alliance is an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions that recognises the need for decisive action to achieve the EU's climate targets and aims to bring together regions with a strong automotive sector that want to play an active role in decarbonising the transport sector and contribute to achieving the European Green Deal targets to ensure a just transition for automotive regions. The Alliance currently consists of 33 participating regions with Saxony (DE) as chair and Navarra (ES) and Lombardy (IT) as co-chairs.

With the adoption of the internal combustion phase-out by 2035, the Alliance has a key role to play: the European Commission is mandated to report by the end of 2025 on what budgetary resources are needed to make this transition fair for all. The legislators commit the European Commission to base its report on the work of the Automotive Regions Alliance.

Contact:

Theresa Sostmann

Tel. +32 475999415

Theresa.Sostmann@cor.europa.eu



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