An action plan released by the European Commission today (8 November) will see several areas targeted including green vehicles, access to funds from the European Investment Bank, implementing 2020 CO2 targets, road safety and alternative fuels among others.

The raft of initiatives announced by the EC also includes specific reference to the possibility of large-scale plant closures in Europe as the Continent continues to endure a prolonged slump in vehicle sales.

A statement from the EC noted it would "bring together Industry Ministers, industry and trade union representatives in order to come up with coordinated actions to tackle over-capacities, ensure necessary investments and that national demand and supply-side support measures are in line with internal market and competition rules."

The Commission will also support the creation of a European Automotive Skills Council, encourage the use of the European Social Fund (ESF) for workers' retraining and re-skilling in the new financial perspective of the Structural Funds.

It will also "invite" Member States to consider using the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

"The European automotive industry is one of the biggest in Europe with more than EUR700bn in turnover and a multiplier effect on the entire economy via links with other sectors - steel, chemical and textile," said the EC statement.

"There are some 180 vehicle plants across the EU. The industry provides over 12m direct and indirect jobs with a significant share of highly skilled workforce. It has a hugely positive trade balance of over EUR90bn in 2011."