An Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA) has been created to support a fair and successful mobility transition for European regions, with the aim of ensuring that no region is left behind as the automotive industry moves toward electrification.
The alliance was launched during the June Plenary Session of the European Committee of the Regions in the presence of Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. The Committee of the Regions’ Automotive Intergroup (CoR AI) is a key partner in the alliance, having been active on this topic since 2009, and will be a major facilitator of the future cooperation and actions of the ARA.
The alliance is intended to bring together regions with strong automotive and supply industries that want to play an active role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector, and will contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, while strengthening regional industrial ecosystems and value creation and ensuring economic and social cohesion.
Schmit stated, “The automotive sector in the EU accounts for over 14 million jobs. The move to zero-emission cars and vans offers opportunities for Europe’s industry, but equally clear challenges. One thing is clear: to make it a success this green transformation requires a strong accompaniment of reskilling and job-to-job transitions, strong dialogue between social partners, and adequate funding.”
The ARA calls for action from the EU on ten points, outlined below. Key to the Powder Metallurgy industry is the call to action in point 3, which asks the EU to address the common challenges and opportunities facing regions and SMEs in the automotive supply chain industry, which will be particularly affected by the transition in drive-trains from ICE drive-trains to electric.
The full list of actions requested by the alliance is:
- Urgently establish a European mechanism supporting a just, fair and successful transition for the European automotive and supply industry regions, including by streamlining dedicated additional budget headings in the various European funds and programmes.
- Undertake a detailed territorial impact assessment (at regional level) of the consequences of the transformation in the automotive sector as a starting point for the just transition framework, including granular mapping of the impact on regional growth and jobs.
- Address common challenges and opportunities for regions and SMEs in respect of the automotive supply chain industry, which will be particularly affected by the drive-train transition.
- Support reskilling and upskilling the (regional) workforce in order to avoid job losses in our regions, monitoring the supply and demand of relevant skills and anticipating future demands in close cooperation with the EU-wide framework of the Pact for Skills, and **especially with the Automotive Skills Alliance.
- Further develop a strong research framework for industrial transformation and innovation in the European automotive industry, increasing the resilience of the supply chain for strategic and critical raw materials.
- Provide for flexibility in State aid guidelines (including the block exemption regulation) to enable automotive regions to guide and manage this transformation and avoid its negative effects. Supporting measures for local and regional authorities to accelerate the uptake of innovative technologies through public procurement should also be provided for.
- Support regions to deploy publicly accessible refuelling and recharging stations to promote the uptake of electric vehicles and vehicles that use zero- and low-carbon alternative fuels. It is imperative for territorial and social cohesion that these stations be available in all regions and interoperable across borders.
- Concentrate available public and private investment funds on various technological solutions (e.g. electrification, hydrogen technologies and synthetic fuels) to ensure the European automotive industry’s competitiveness and innovation.
- Establish a multi-level governance and partnership approach to this transition for appropriate and effective policy planning, budgetary action, and dialogue with all stakeholders and public authorities at all levels, including the European Commission, Council and European Parliament.
- Support this alliance as the main open platform for coordination of the automotive and supply regions, so that they can work together at regional, national and European level, and in close cooperation with existing initiatives in order to make the transition a success.
The founding regions of the alliance are Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; Valencia, Navarra, Galicia, Catalonia, Castile and León, and Andalucia, Spain; Bretagne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and Grand-Est, France; Abruzzo, Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Umbria, Italy; Styria, Austria; and Trnava and Bratislava, Slovakia.
These regions will be further supported by the Automotive Skills Alliance, the sectorial initiative under the Pact for Skills that supports the upskilling and reskilling of the automotive workforce to facilitate green and digital transformation.