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Not national industrial policies but European competitivnes

Restructuring of the automobile sector
Hökmark (PPE-DE). (SV) Mr President, it is interesting to observe that the Social Democratic representatives from Sweden and Germany, where the car industry has problems, are now leaving it to the EU to find solutions to what are basically problems with their national economies’ competitiveness.

You should not ask what the EU can do for national industrial policy but what your own national governments can do for Europe’s competitiveness. What you are asking sounds the alarm about whether European industry is at all able to hold its own in relation to global competition.

It is not the case that we now need a European automobile policy. We have experience from the seventies when national policies on shipyards were conducted in a long list of different European countries. It put a stop to development and led not to jobs being saved, but to capital being wasted. What is now needed is a policy that allows European companies to develop their competitiveness. It is absurd if we are to have a competition policy within the European Union that makes it difficult for European companies to compete globally in a market in which competition is global. When we are concerned with an industry that needs to be competitive globally, the conditions that make it competitive cannot be assessed on the basis of national sub-markets.

We must now ensure that we conduct a policy that strengthens competitiveness. Not one of the proposals presented in this debate in the House would lead to more cars being sold or produced in Europe. Instead, they would give rise to false expectations and distract attention from what needs to be done, namely accept changes and restructuring. Above all, a Lisbon process is needed that makes European companies competitive and that can give Europe more companies. That is what Europe needs, not a European automobile industry policy.