In view of the COVID-19 crisis, which has led to a virtual halt in sales in 2020, the EESC has examined the European Commission's proposal for a regulation which would allow Euro 4 motorcycle manufacturers to sell beyond 1 January 2021 vehicles they had in stock on 15 March 2020.
The EESC recommended rapid approval of the new regulation in view of the strong public health concerns about nanoparticles resulting from combustion processes and the high level of protection that can be achieved by implementing the proposed Stage V for NRMM engines.
The EESC welcomes the proposal that follows feedback received by stakeholders and Member States in the first implementation period.
The EESC regrets that the Commission has not taken this opportunity to anticipate the changes connected to driverless motor vehicles, despite the comments included in the impact assessment accompanying the proposal. The EESC recommends that the Commission set, as regards harmonisation of minimum amounts of cover, a final deadline for completing the implementation of minimum compensation thresholds.
The majority of road accidents are down to human error alone, so a comprehensive approach to road safety is needed. It should cover driver behaviour, the working conditions and skills of professional drivers, and infrastructure.
The application of the Euro 5 step to the type-approval of two- or three- wheel vehicles and quadricycles
With this opinion, the EESC welcomes the proposal since it strikes a balance between the need to develop technologies with a low environmental impact (Euro 5 type-approval step) and the actual ability of some companies to introduce these within the stipulated timeframe (technical feasibility).
For the EESC this legislation will have a beneficial effect on the costs to companies and, consequently, on those borne by consumers. Moreover, the EESC is in favour of renewing the Commission's power to adopt delegated acts for a further period of five years.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals in principle as a balanced compromise between the objectives of climate-neutral mobility, the innovation capacity of the European automotive industry and preserving quality jobs. In particular, the EESC considers the planned interim target for 2025 of a 15% reduction in emissions compared to 2021 to be very demanding as the required changes are to be made to combustion engines at the cutting edge of technology. Despite this, the EESC views the market development towards zero-emission vehicles and low-emissions vehicles and hybrids as an opportunity. Furthermore the EESC calls for a mid-term review for 2024 to include the state of play regarding the qualification and (re)training of staff as well as an updated analysis of the areas in which (additional) action is required.
With this opinion, the EESC welcomes the proposal to monitor and disseminate CO2 readings of HDVs newly registered in EU, and provides customers with clear information concerning consumption. A balance should be striked between targets that can be achieved in the short to medium-term and the longer-term goal of zero-emission road transport.
Implications of the digitalisation and robotisation of transport on EU policy-making (own-initiative opinion)
The European car industry employs 2.5 million workers. Together they account for 8% of total value added in industry. Indirectly the sector provides employment for 12 million workers. European exports of cars are twice as big as imports, resulting in a large trade surplus. European assembly plants produce one out of three cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative as it accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe.