STRASBOURG – The EU wants to kick-start the European car industry, creating competitive zero and low emission cars, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič told New Europe.

“I spent the weekend in Bonn at COP23 and I can testify personally that Clean Mobility Package but also agreement on the Emissions Trading Scheme was very positively welcomed by our global partners,” he said in an interview in Strasbourg on November 15 minutes before a plenary debate on the decision adopted on the second Mobility Package. “With the Clean Mobility Package we are achieving two goals. The first one to clearly demonstrate that we’re transforming our commitments into the binding European laws and the second that we’re kick-starting the European car industry to be very competitive in this new segment which clearly will be zero and low emission cars,” Šefčovič added.

“We put this on the table with just one goal in mind to make sure that the best, cleanest cars in the world are manufactured here in Europe and on top of that we will put them in the most modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure,” he said.

Earlier in November, the Commission proposed new targets for the EU fleet wide average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans to help accelerate the transition to low- and zero emission vehicles. The proposals on November 8 establish ambitious, realistic and enforceable rules to help secure a level playing field between actors in the industry operating in Europe, according to the Commission. Both for new cars and vans, the average CO2 emissions will have to be 30% lower in 2030, compared to 2021.

Regarding the debate on the decision adopted on the second Mobility Package in Strasbourg, Šefčovič told New Europe that his “appeal to the parliamentarians today (November 15) will be to help us to fast track as much as possible this mobility package because I think it should definitely be our priority to adopt under this legislature and second my personal request to the parliamentarians would be to think how they can help us with this European alliance for batteries. I have very good experience with a group of friends for aviation and space, this kind of space group so I just would like to appeal to them if there would be enough interest to create, let’s say, a friends of batteries in the parliament because its very cross-sectorial and we could really benefit from the support of different committees in the European Parliament”.

Šefčovič also joked about his meeting with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the COP23 talks in Bonn a few days earlier where the two well-built men exchanged fresh ideas to maximise the Climate Action outreach.

“We joked a little bit that it’s a meeting between The Aviator Bertrand Piccard, The Governator and The Commissionator. We met together and we discussed two things. The first one is really working on new ways how to communicate the climate messages to the young generation, how to make it in a simple straightforward way, very well targeted, YouTubes with very clear messages. And the second thing we discussed was actually the upcoming One Planet Summit in Paris where we want to present the ways how to channel more money through the European External Investment Fund to Africa,” Šefčovič said.

“We’re appealing to different philanthropists and different financial institutions to match that contribution which we want to propose as a de-risking loan guarantee financing and to leverage it through the private financing,” the European Commission Vice President said.

He reminded that Schwarzenegger is head of Regions for Climate Action (R20) coalition. “He is very much interested in promoting projects in Africa so we decided that our teams would further explore how we can cooperate, how they could help us to bring more money to support the African projects and hopefully something that we can announce in Paris,” Šefčovič remarked before heading to the hemicycle.

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