ACEA boss asks EU authorities to slow down their ‘tsunami of regulations’

On the eve of the COP 28 climate conference, and in the run-up to EU elections next year, the President of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), Luca de Meo, unveiled a manifesto and roadmap for a competitive mobility ecosystem, co-signed by the CEOs of Europe’s major vehicle manufacturers.

“Our sector is in the midst of the biggest transformation in over a century,” said Mr. de Meo, also CEO of Renault Group. “There is no question for us about the need to decarbonize. We are investing billions to make this happen, far more than any other sector.”

Given the scale of the transformation, no single stakeholder will be able to transform the whole mobility ecosystem alone, says the press release. ACEA, therefore, launched its manifesto for the next European Parliament and Commission today, with a roadmap based on three pillars: supply, production, and demand. It is to be implemented by the auto industry together with its partners.

Over-regulating?

“Our industry has, on average, eight or nine EU regulations coming into force every year until 2030; in some cases, these are conflicting regulations,” explained the ACEA President. “Europe urgently needs to adopt a holistic approach to automotive industry challenges, encompassing the entire value chain, from upstream to downstream.”

“Because the issues we are facing cut across sectors: automotive, mining, energy, infrastructure and beyond,” he added. “If you look at our global competitors, they are very good at doing this.”

“Europe must not only ensure that we are as well-equipped as other regions, it must also ensure that we compete on a level playing field. Competition is very healthy, and true competition also means open global markets and free and fair trade rules,” de Meo detailed.

Manufacturing hub

A key element of ACEA’s roadmap is to make Europe a hub for manufacturing green and smart vehicles. “We need to collaborate with policymakers to create the conditions for manufacturing a diverse range of zero-emission models, including small, affordable electric vehicles that are profitable to produce in Europe,” explained de Meo.

“This way, we can tackle many challenges with the same silver bullet, especially regarding urban mobility. We must also work on the demand side through adequate, fit-for-purpose incentive schemes at all policy levels, from the EU down to urban and local authorities.”

De Meo re-elected

At the Brussels meeting where he held his statement, Luca de Meo, CEO of the Renault Group, was reconfirmed as President of ACEA for a second year. The President is elected for one year, renewable once, by member company CEOs.

The manifesto

The ‘manifesto’ ACEA recently published stresses five points. First, ‘Time for an ‘Industry Deal’: put industrial strategy firmly back on the agenda.

Secondly, ‘Take a strategic view’: the regulatory framework has to be rethought. Thirdly, ‘Stay in the race’: Europe must ensure that European manufacturers can be competitive globally.

The fourth recommendation: ‘Keep an open mind’: Make technology neutrality a guiding principle, meaning that Europe can’t entirely focus on electric drive alone. And finally, ‘Keep Europe moving’: Europe has to preserve the mobility of people and goods.

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