Brussels, Belgium – The European Parliament has put its support behind the auto industry, and has called on the EU member states and European commission to enact assistance measures.

The European Parliament has asked that the states and Commission increase the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank; speed up and simplify access to credit; coordinate fleet renewal measures throughout the European Union; support measures to retain a high-skilled workforce; facilitate and sustain high levels of research and development; ensure a balanced and fair trade agreement with South Korea; and scrutinize new regulatory proposals to ensure competitiveness.

Due to the financial crisis, auto sales have declined in Europe for ten consecutive months, with a drop of 2.3 million passenger car and commercial vehicle registrations from May 2008 to February 2009 when compared to the same period a year before. Vehicle production is forecast to decline by 25 per cent in 2009.

“The Parliament underlines that the financial and economic crisis causes serious problems, and that the automotive industry is particularly hard hit,” said Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). “The Parliament puts its full political weight behind support measures from European institutions and governments and stresses that urgency is key. As the Parliament states, the current crisis is caused by the credit crunch and the rapid deterioration of demand. These factors outweigh by far the more structural issues that manufacturing sectors are facing in today’s globalized economy. The auto manufacturers have responded swiftly, but the extraordinary circumstances demand exceptional measures to ensure employment and investments.”

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