European Parliament

More science funding needed to meet CO2 targets for car industry

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Source: European Parliament

Research funding needs to be increased to meet binding CO2 targets in the car industry, says the Industry Committee's report on a competitive automotive regulatory framework (CARS 21). The committee adds that cars should be permitted to emit more CO2 if these emissions result from mandatory safety measures, and that intellectual property rights must be effectively protected worldwide.

The own-initiative report by Jorgo Chatzimarkakis (ALDE, DE) stresses the economic importance of the European automotive industry as a sector producing 19 million vehicles yearly and providing 2.3 million direct jobs and a further 10 million in ancillary sectors.  MEPs in the committee say that, while the industry will have to undergo substantial change, adjustments in EU policy will also be needed to ensure regulations do not lead to job losses.
 
Allow higher CO2 emissions if they result from safety measures

As the development of new types of passenger cars takes about five to seven years, MEPs urge the Commission not to set any final mandatory targets for CO2 emissions for any date before 2015. From then on,  however, an average target of 125g/km of CO2 emissions for new passenger cars should be achievable, says the report.
 
MEPs stress that additional safety systems might increase the weight of passenger cars and thus lead to higher CO2 emissions. They therefore call on the Commission to develop a system that allows car manufacturers to emit additional CO2 if these are a result of legally binding safety measures.
 
Increase research funding to meet CO2 targets
 
Binding CO2 targets have to be accompanied by an increase in Member States' funding for research and development for the automobile sector, says the report.  The committee suggests that one of the first knowledge and innovation communities of the new European Institute of Technology (EIT) should address CO2 reduction through vehicle technology.
 
Effective protection of intellectual property rights
 
Committee members are concerned that the European automotive industry might lose its position as one of the most competitive industries in the world due to 'unfair competition and disrespect of intellectual property rights'.  'Effective protection of IPR' should be a precondition for any partnership with China.
 
Within the EU's current negotiations for a free-trade agreement with Korea, the removal of that country's non-tariff barriers is seen as essential, and any strategy of phasing out EU import tariffs should depend on this, says the committee.
 
A common market for spare parts
 
The Commission should come forward with proposals to create a common market for spare and additional parts such as special tires, rims and other 'tuning'. The committee stresses that independent operators should have genuine access to technical information, training, spare parts, multi-band diagnostic tools and testing equipment.

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