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European carmakers urge EU leaders to match ambitions with other regions

Electric vehicles at charging stations
Electric vehicles at charging stations Copyright David Zalubowski/ The Associated Press
Copyright David Zalubowski/ The Associated Press
By Stefan Grobe
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The US is subsidising electric vehicle producers through its Inflation Reduction Act.

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The European automotive industry is urging European Union leaders to put in place an ambitious and structured industrial policy to rival those of other world regions.

According to Luca de Meo, the new president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), Europe's approach is to regulate the industry to achieve zero emissions, while other regions like the United States and China are stimulating their industry in the green transition.

Speaking to journalists at ACEA's headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, de Meo demanded decisive action "to avoid the risk of de-industrialisation" in Europe.

"We need a frame that puts us in a competitive position on a worldwide base, this is very important. Our industry is a global industry, we don't do local products," he said.

"For us, Europe is the starting point of an ecosystem that is global and we need the authorities. We need the authorities on our side to create a strategy, to create competitive advantages for European products and technology."

ACEA's push came a day before the European Commission is set to roll out proposals to support investments in green sectors.

The car industry fears that electric vehicles will remain inaccessible for many customers because of the expensive raw materials used in batteries that drive up production costs.

What is missing in Europe is buying incentives, Sigrid De Vries, ACEA director general, told Euronews.

"Accessibility to mobility is really becoming a topic also for policymakers and that is because now reality starts hitting the ground," she told Euronews.

"With the Green Deal, we've had a huge amount of ambitions being enshrined in regulation that is really pushing Europe and its industries - which is good. But now it needs to be implemented and worked out."

Despite the broader economic uncertainty, sales of new cars in the EU are expected to start to recover in 2023.

ACEA is forecasting a 5% increase in registrations to reach almost ten million vehicles.

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