Monday

12th Apr 2021

Sarkozy wants new EU state aid rules for car makers

  • France pledged €400 million over the next four years to support the development of more eco-friendly cars (Photo: EUobserver)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to propose a revision of EU state aid rules to encourage car makers to produce greener cars, as well as an EU aid plan which would allow European car producers to get loans at preferential rates.

Mr Sarkozy, also the current EU chair-in-office, said while attending the World Automobile Fair in Paris on Thursday (9 October) that the EU needs looser state aid rules in order to reach its own goals in the field of its climate and energy package, namely to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to boost the use of renewable energy by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added that the US is already offering state aid to its car manufacturers, referring to a vote by the US Congress last week to give cheap loans to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler to help them adapt to new emissions rules.

"The US Treasury is preparing to grant $25 million in long-term loans at unbeatable rates to US car makers for them to renovate their plants that are more than 20 years old," the French president said.

"I don't want us [Europe] to be living in a framework that doesn't allow us to help our own car makers undertake a major technological shift … I think we are naïve and I especially think that has lasted long enough," he added, French television channel France 2 reports.

Consequently, Mr Sarkozy will propose "to the European Commission and to our European partners a revision of the common framework on state aid ... so that it can be harmonised with the goals we are pursuing in the context of the climate-energy package."

The French leader's statements come days after the European car makers association ACEA called for €40 billion in aid from the EU to help them develop greener technologies.

They notably demanded low-interest loans from the EU "to help secure a sustainable market for current and newly developed fuel-efficient technologies," and called for incentives to "scrap vehicles of over eight years old, during a period of 36 months, to accelerate fleet renewal."

Separately, Mr Sarkozy also announced a French plan to spend €400 million over the next four years to support the development of more eco-friendly cars.

The money will be used "exclusively" to finance the research and development of "carbon-free cars, that is vehicles with the least possible emission of carbon dioxide, whether electric cars or hybrids," the president said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Meanwhile, French car manufacturers Renault and Peugeot-Citroen separately signed deals with France's largely state-controlled energy company EDF aiming to favour the development of electric cars and their commercialization in France by 2011.

European Transport

Careful transport policy is seen as key to helping the EU on its way to economic recovery. But it needs to take into account two big factors - empty public coffers and environmental concerns. EUobserver turns the spotlight on the latest developments in the sector.

Transport no longer a 'nuisance' policy, Kallas says

EU transport policy has been transformed from being regarded as a 'nuisance' policy to being seen as key to achieving the Union's longterm economic goals, the EU transport chief tells EUobserver.

Brussels to unveil 'core' transport network in September

The European Commission is in September due to publish an overhaul of its approach to achieving the longterm plan of connecting Europe's railways, airports, ports and roads. It is expected to unleash a furious bout of lobbying.

'Whatever we do the pirates have adapted'

The number of pirate attacks off Somalia has increased dramatically in recent years, putting a physical and mental toll on seafarers and provoking a discussion on whether to boycott dangerous waters.

Arctic shipping routes unlikely to be 'Suez of the north'

Shipping and mineral companies are salivating at the prospect of new shipping routes in the Arctic as sea ice begins its global warming-induced retreat. The North Sea Route could be a boon for northern European companies. But caveats abound, not least for the environment.

Denmark to be electric cars guinea pig

Talk of electric cars is everywhere at the moment. But taking the prototype from the car show room and turning it into the vehicle of choice for millions of Europeans is a huge task. A project in Denmark will test the waters later this year.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey blames EU for sexist protocol fiasco
  2. France to close elite civil-service academy
  3. Covid-19 cases in UK drop 60%, study finds
  4. White House urges 'calm' after Northern Ireland riots
  5. Italy's Draghi calls Turkey's Erdoğan a 'dictator'
  6. Slovakia told to return Sputnik V amid quality row
  7. EU risks €87bn in stranded fossil fuel assets
  8. Obligatory vaccination not against human rights, European court says

Column

Why Germans understand the EU best

In Germany, there is commotion about a new book in which two journalists describe meetings held during the corona crisis between federal chancellor Angela Merkel, and the 16 prime ministers of its federal constituent states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. The Covid bell tolls for eastern Europe's populists
  2. Four deaths after taking Russian Sputnik V vaccine
  3. Post-Brexit riots flare up in Northern Ireland
  4. Advice on AstraZeneca varies across EU, amid blood clot fears
  5. Greenland election could see halt to rare-earth mining
  6. After 50 years, where do Roma rights stand now?
  7. Why Iran desperately wants a new nuclear deal
  8. Does new EU-ACP deal really 'decolonise' aid?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us