Europe’s carmakers have welcomed the economic recovery plan presented today by the European Commission. They said it is a welcome first step towards addressing the consequences of  the  financial  crisis, aimed at preventing a prolonged  slump  in the EU economy and supporting – amongst others – the automotive industry.

The EUR200bn plan – equivalent to 1.5% of EU GDP – is designed to stimulate spending and boost consumer confidence by injecting more purchasing power into region.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the plan was ‘timely, temporary and targeted’. The EC expects member states to contribute EUR170bn while the European Union will stump up EUR30bn.

The European Commission president said the bigger part of the package would be implemented in 2009, while some measures would continue into 2010.

The proposed plan will need to be approved at the next EU summit in December.
ACEA said that details  of  the  plan  have  to  quickly  become  clear particularly  with  regard  to  its  scope  and  the  amount  of  funding available.
“EU  governments  and  institutions  need  to act and urgency is key. The  framework  proposed  this  morning  needs  to  be translated swiftly into concrete  and  effective  measures  to help an industry in great danger,” said  Christian  Streiff,  President  of  the automobile industry’s trade association ACEA and CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën.
 “Our  industry  will  work with the European Investment Bank and national governments  to  find  pragmatic  solutions, using all possible resources available  at  community and national level”, added Ivan Hodac, Secretary General  of  ACEA. 
“The  proposal  of  today represents a broad range of opportunities   that  now  need  to  come  together  in  a  coherent  and coordinated  manner.  The  increased  credit  facility  from the European Investment  Bank, to be adopted by the Ecofin council of 2 December, will be a further important step.”
“We need to study today’s proposals in more detail and will actively help shaping   the  urgent  proposals  for  financial  support,  broad  market incentives  to  accelerate fleet renewal, reduce the regulatory burden on the  industry, and ensure free trade agreements that ensure all parties a mutual  benefit  and  fair  market  access”,  said  Hodac.

The EU executive is proposing combined funding of at least EUR5bn as part of a “smart mix” of regulation which includes R&D, national investment, Commission funding, European Investment Bank support and public private partnerships for the automobile sector.

According to the Commission, the aim of the European green cars initiative is to protect jobs in the car sector and “to ensure its long-term viability by encouraging sustainable reform that embraces new environmentally friendly technology,” making Europe’s car manufacturers world leaders in this increasingly competitive market.