March 24, 2017
This Saturday it is exactly six decades ago that the foundations of the EU were laid with the Treaty of Rome. On behalf of the 15 European automobile manufacturers, I would like to congratulate Europe on its 60th anniversary. In these times, when principles such as free trade and the freedom of movement are under pressure, I believe that it is more important than ever to make the case for a united Europe.
Sixty years of integration has been a powerful catalyst for growth, long-lasting peace and stability. Most of all, the EU has enabled its citizens to thrive. As auto makers, we enjoy access to a single market of half a billion consumers, who in turn can profit from the benefits of scale. At the same time, our industry employs 12.2 million Europeans across the value chain and contributes 6.5% to the EU’s GDP.
But despite the EU’s achievements, there’s a disturbing level of anxiety in parts of society. For us it is clear: we need to stand by the founding principles of Europe. Without Europe, we would not have a level playing field in which all 15 of us can compete to offer affordable cars. Likewise, following the recent issues faced by our industry, EU rules are important to help win back the trust of consumers.
Just like the EU itself, vehicle manufacturers have never settled for what we have achieved. And what is true for our industry, is also important for society: trade barriers, isolation and borders are no answers to today’s challenges. The simple truth is, trying to turn back time is not a solution. Rather, we should focus on what we can secure for future generations, because that’s a lot!
Secretary General of ACEA
- To mark Europe’s 60th anniversary, ACEA’s Board of Directors has adopted a statement to re-iterate its commitment to the founding principles of the European Union, which can be found here.