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Vehicle emissions: new EU regulation mobilises the Automotive Regions Alliance to make the industry green transition socially fair  

​Newly adopted EU regulation on vehicle emissions focuses on the territorial impact of the industrial transition and mandates the Automotive Regions Alliance to assess funding gaps.

​​In the latest regulation on CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans, European legislators fully took on board regions' and cities' demand to involve the territorial impact of the transition in industrial regions, especially those – such as the regions with an automotive industry– that are undergoing a twin digital and green transition . The European Parliament further tasked the European Commission to report and funding needs and gaps to ensure a just transition in the automotive supply industry, building upon the work done by the European Committee of the Regions' Automotive Regions Alliance. Members of the European Parliament adopted the proposal during their plenary session on 14 February, teaming up with the European Committee of the Regions in an effort achieve a just and fair transition towards a decarbonised road transport sector.

Regions and cities have been calling for a territorial impact assessment of the ongoing transition towards zero-emission and digitalised vehicles. This call has been accepted in the final wording of the regulation on the "CO2 emission standard performance for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in line with the Union’s increased climate ambition", with the regulation now calling for particular attention to be paid to the "impact that this transition will have on micro-enterprises and SMEs along the supply chain and to affected regions and communities which might be more vulnerable due to the presence of an intensive automotive industry".

In addition, European legislators have assign a central role to the Automotive Regions Alliance, tasking it to help the European Commission to identify adequate financial measures to address the needs of SMEs and the regions that are most affected by the transition. This formally recognises the Alliance's strategic role in ensuring a fair and just transformation.

Emil Boc (RO/EPP), chair of the COTER commission and Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, said: "We welcome today's vote in the European Parliament, confirming the central role of the Automotive Regions Alliance to find a fair transition mechanism for the automotive and supply industry regions. Regions with an automotive industry cannot be left alone to deal with the consequences of the green and digital transition in road transport. Therefore, in the upcoming years the work of the Alliance will focus in particular on the human and territorial challenges in order to ensure a just, fair and successful transition of the automotive and supply industry regions."

Thomas Schmidt (DE/EPP), Saxon State Minister for Regional Development and Chair of the Automotive Regions Alliance, added: "Structural change in the automotive industry is in full swing and the regions are already feeling it. Manufacturers and suppliers are equally affected. Almost 7.5 million people work in the automotive and supplier industry in the EU. Their working environment will change massively in all areas. The European Commission initiated the ambitious targets for the future and should therefore support the regions in their efforts to achieve these goals. Consequently, the Automotive Regions Alliance calls for a just and fair transition of the affected regions: We need a European mechanism, such as the Just Transition Fund, that provides targeted support for regions in making the change fair and equitable."

María Chivite (ES/PES), President of Navarra and Co-Chair, stated: "Regions with a big automotive industry, such as Navarra, need EU support to guarantee an orderly ecological transition that ensures quality employment. The transport sector needs to contribute to the EU's important climate change objectives and EU funds can help address the transformation of the automotive industry. It is important that we have enough time to implement the investments without jobs and quality of life suffering. We in the institutions have an obligation to help this transition by protecting workers through re-skilling. Our training and re-skilling programmes in Navarra support the challenges of requalification and ensure that job losses and increased inequalities can be avoided. Today's vote to formally involve the Alliance of Automotive Regions, which combines the expertise of many EU regions, can help in this transition process."

The final legislative text mandates the European Commission to present a report by the end of 2025 on what budgetary and policy means are necessary to make these transformations fair for all. The legislators commit the European Commission to draw up its report on the basis of the work of the Automotive Regions Alliance of the CoR. It reaffirms the Union's ambitious climate-change targets in the regulation, but underlines the need to find a fair transition mechanism and assigns a key role to the Alliance.


The Automotive Regions Alliance is a political network of regions committed to the successful transformation of Europe's automotive and supply industries. 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 31 participating regions with Saxony (DE) as chair and Navarra (ES) and Lombardy (IT) as co-chairs.

Europe's automotive and supply industry is in a phase of upheaval and transformation: the EU's climate targets with the "Fit for 55" package require a significant contribution in the road transport sector and thus have an impact on all automotive regions in Europe. The automotive industry is heavily affected by the green and digital transition, and accounts for 7.5 million jobs in car manufacturing industries and automobile services which is more than 6% of European employment overall. The transition towards zero-emission and digitalised vehicles will heavily impact the regional automotive eco-systems and socio-economic structures. The goal of the Automotive Regions Alliance therefore is to ensure that the transition in the automotive sector is fair and successful leaving no region behind while fully supporting the EU's climate goals.

Theresa Sostmann
Tel. +32 475999415

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