European Economic and Social Committee
Industrial change and prospects for the powered two-wheeler industry in Europe
In the framework of this opinion a hearing (Industrial change and prospects for the motorcycle industry in Europe) was organized in Milano on 12 November 2009.
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Gist of the opinion
The industry was struck by the crisis in the last quarter of 2008, and the adverse effects of the fall in demand have been felt throughout the sector, with severe structural and employment consequences. The EESC fears that if policies to support the sector are not developed without delay there may be further, substantial job losses in 2010. Against this backdrop, the EESC:
a) believes measures bolstering demand, particularly as regards vehicles with low environmental impact and advanced safety features, to be necessary;
b) calls on the Commission, when drafting the upcoming proposal for a regulation on powered two-wheelers, to set goals for the sector which will ensure flexible solutions for industry and a smaller increase in costs for the consumer, and taking into account the economic climate and the wide range of diverse products;
c) believes that, to ensure a level playing field, greater oversight in respect of type approval and markets is needed, and for free trade agreements;
d) calls on the Commission to develop a similar approach to CARS 21 for this industry, to support partnership, competitiveness and jobs;
e) considers that FP7 can contribute to achievement of these goals and calls for a dedicated platform to be set up for the industry, supporting businesses which produce in Europe and use the European production chain;
f) calls on the industry to pursue restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and to build further cooperation, including with component suppliers, with the aim of maximising all possible synergies;
g) believes it necessary to develop "social dialogue" in order to boost employment in the sector, establishing European standards for lifelong learning and worker specialisation while, at the same time, helping to reduce insecure employment;
h) calls on the Commission to focus extensively on powered two-wheelers in the measures provided for by the Action Plan on Urban Mobility, as powered two-wheelers can undoubtedly contribute to more sustainable mobility.