Living the balancing act in a sustainable economy – CLEPA Newsletter Editorial December 2019

The European Parliament declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ earlier this month, not accidentally on the eve of the COP25 meetings in Madrid. The European Commission has presented its first set of plans to bring the European Green Deal to life. And the automotive industry is undergoing the biggest transformation in over a hundred years – to a large part because of the need to decarbonise transport. The other two major trends are assisted and automated driving and connectivity, with all the data-fuelled new mobility types and services that come with it.


At CLEPA, we are convinced that no-one can master these challenges on their own. And we believe in European solutions to find and work together.


The urgency to deliver is extremely high. As citizens, we expect innovative solutions to transition towards a sustainable economy, to embed digital opportunities in our daily lives in a safe and secure manner, as well as for Europe to remain competitive worldwide. As businesses, we contribute our world-leading industrial competence and our ability to provide solutions.

The urgency to deliver is extremely high


The European automotive supply industry, therefore, calls on the new European Commission to establish a Digital Single Market for Mobility to unleash the potential of connected mobility and automated driving as well as support reaching environmental targets included in the European Green Deal.


This should go hand in hand with a European masterplan for the mobility industry to harness the potential of technology, strengthen European competitiveness, address key infrastructure needs (both in the fields of energy & digital communication) and ensure safe, sustainable and smart mobility as a cornerstone of society.


Why is this relevant? European automotive suppliers hold an impressive 40% of global revenue in the sector and are a major pillar under the European economy. We want to decarbonise and digitalise, but not deindustrialise.

We want to decarbonise and digitalise, yet not deindustrialise


Suppliers urge the European legislator to build on Europe’s strengths – the single market, the continent’s advanced technology competence, its high value-add industrial base, and its global competitiveness – and to provide the supportive regulatory framework needed to master the monumental tasks unfolding.


Europe has to be world leader in environmental and digital technology, the automotive industry wants to offer the best range of options for people and businesses to move around, and society needs the conditions to let companies manufacture and employ in Europe.


Automotive suppliers aspire for the future of mobility to be safe, sustainable, smart and competitive. This is the vision CLEPA has laid out in full during the 4th December event Future as we Move – Shaping Solutions of Mobility, opened by the French minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, and the German minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier.


For Europe to secure strategic autonomy in the field of ‘new mobility’, which is safe, sustainable and smart, and to compete effectively with other world regions, there are high levels of investments needed in renewable energy, energy infrastructure, secure and fast connectivity as well as in critical technologies, innovation and skills.


Remaining barriers in the Single Market should be removed


Remaining barriers in the Single Market should be removed. We do have an internal market for automotive products but not for automated driving or for electromobility. Yet, success or failure depends on market acceptance, which in turn relies on a supportive and harmonised European playing field. Last but not least, a functioning, reliable and innovation-friendly legal framework across European borders will be essential too in light of global competition and tendencies to depart from open and rules-based access to global markets.


We must allow for the best solutions to efficiently address our highly diverse mobility needs, to reduce the environmental impact of mobility and to maintain our competitiveness on global markets. Climate policy has to be deeply intertwined with a coherent industrial strategy, in order to ensure that environmental, economic, and social policies are balanced.


Such balance is precarious, and climate protection needs to condition the strategies towards a sustainable economy as much as the social and economic dimensions should.



Wishing the very best for 2020,



Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General




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