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VDA: Fit for 55 package: “Unique opportunity to become a global example of climate protection and economic growth”

Framework conditions are decisive: Ambitious expansion of the charging infrastructure required – ETS as a key instrument for CO2 reduction – Openness to technology as a driver of innovation: No ban on combustion engines – Review 2028 for targets after 2030

With the Fit for 55 package, the EU has launched one of the greatest challenges for industry that has ever existed. Being the first continent in the world to become climate-neutral by 2050 is a clear and correct goal and at the same time a task for politics, society and industry. The automotive industry joins this by conviction and resolutely drives change forward with huge investments in research, development and the conversion and new construction of plants.

“The EU Commission has set very ambitious goals for the future. We can and will achieve these goals if the location and the companies are provided with the right conditions to implement this transformation. The most ambitious climate goals in the world must be flanked by the creation of the best location conditions worldwide,” explains VDA President Hildegard Müller.

“Fit for 55 is a huge industrial policy challenge. The right framework conditions make it a great opportunity: Parliament, the Commission and the national states must now make Europe fit for 55 as a business location. It is important that the various regulations are coordinated consistently and logically. A climate-neutral Europe must not mean that industrial production in Europe migrates to less ambitious regions of the world. On the contrary: industrial production must remain on our continent and continue to adhere to our high standards. That would be a win-win situation for the climate and jobs – a win-win situation that we have to realize in order to propagate our model throughout the world. It is a unique opportunity to become a global example of climate protection and economic growth,” Müller continued.

Against the background of tomorrow’s votes in the EU Parliament, it is now crucial to make the right strategic decisions, Müller explains:

  1. “The automotive industry has clearly committed itself to ramping up electromobility quickly. The fast, binding and nationwide expansion of the charging infrastructure in all EU member states is absolutely necessary in order to achieve the ambitious goals. This is where the AFIR regulation needs to be more ambitious. What member states decided last week is not enough. We need more charging stations and hydrogen filling stations – across Europe. A corresponding monitoring process of the construction progress is an indispensable tool to realize more predictability and speed. The fact is: Without a comprehensive charging infrastructure, the climate goals in road traffic cannot be achieved.
  2. It is too early to set a target for 2035 given the unclear developments regarding the framework conditions. Rather, a decision should be made on the basis of a detailed review in 2028. In particular, the expansion of the charging infrastructure must be checked and assessed in order to make a balanced decision for the post-2030 target on this basis. It is important to keep the door open to the use of all climate-friendly technological solutions even after 2035 – also with a view to strategic resilience in the context of increasing dependence on raw materials. Bans don’t help, they neither promote innovation nor acceptance. We therefore reject a ban on combustion engines.
  3. An emissions trading system is the central guiding instrument for CO2 reduction – this also applies to transport. An effective CO2 price, based on a reliable volume limitation, can set clear investment signals and thus develop the entire transport sector towards sustainability. With a uniform price signal, all players in the supply chain, from raw materials to fuel to recycling, are equally involved in achieving the climate goals. Consumers also get a clear price signal. As a result, the ETS acts as an instrument for accelerating defossilization along the entire value chain. Social hardship can be cushioned in a targeted manner.
  4. All technologies are needed to realize climate-neutral transport. Alternative, climate-neutral fuels such as e-fuels are also decisive factors and a necessary part of the solution. The number of vehicles (currently 1.5bn worldwide, 280mn in the EU) must be considered and addressed, which is why the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive will also play an important role.”

In principle, it is central to the complete implementation of the Fit for 55 package to take into account the social structure and the realities of life of all people. “Mobility must be accessible and affordable for everyone. Transformation can only succeed with social support and people’s willingness to support change. It is therefore also essential that industrial manufacturing in Europe stays competitive – this is the only way to secure jobs in Europe,” says Müller.

The Fit for 55 package is an unprecedented challenge and at the same time a unique opportunity, Müller sums up: “The world is watching the European project of the century. Whether people emulate us, whether they go along with us – all of this depends on whether Europe can show that climate, social and economic policy will become a sustainable model for success and a competitive advantage.”


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