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Speech in the plenary debate on the European car industry (CARS 21)

– Mr President, the car of today is, in some ways, very much the same as that of 100 years ago but, at the same time, it is extremely different regarding security, efficiency and its effect on the environment. This proves one thing: the strength of competition develops technology at a pace we cannot imagine. It also underlines the need for Europe to have a competitive car industry if we are to contribute to the global agenda and to better standards for the environment in the global economy, because, if we do not, we will not be able to influence that development.

Those who call for a policy that would decrease the competitiveness of the European car industry do not contribute to a better environment – it is important to state that. It is also important to state that the target of 125 g, as stated in the report, is acceptable and a step forward.

But the important thing is not to discuss emissions from individual cars – big or small – because we need big cars and we will need small cars: they play a different role in different parts of our Union, in our countries. What we need is an overall development that decreases emissions in all sorts of cars. Therefore, it is important to support new cars, because they are better, to support better road systems, better transport systems, better fuels and better engines. That can only be done by a competitive European car industry and that can only be achieved if we have the right policies to balance the environment and competitiveness, and this report makes a good contribution towards that.