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October 2020

Egea proposals for a sustainable European mobility

Massimo Brunamonti

As the coronavirus manifested all its devastating power on the social fabric as a whole, the auto-repair sector captures the attention of both the public and the authorities with proposals and initiatives aimed at spearheading the post-pandemic recovery, not only for the sector, but for the entire economy so interconnected
As the coronavirus manifested all its devastating power on the social fabric as a whole, the auto-repair sector captures the attention of both the public and the authorities with proposals and initiatives aimed at spearheading the post-pandemic recovery, not only for the sector, but for the entire economy so interconnected. In Brussels, following an initial list of requirements (see Pneurama n.4) and following the interest aroused, six trade associations, including Egea, published a 12-point proposal to European and national authorities with concrete measures for a post-Covid-19 recovery. "This vital sector has been severely affected by the pandemic with all of its economic and social consequences, jeopardizing jobs and the development of businesses”.
Putting SMEs in the middle of the picture would help the entire European economy. Likewise, in line with recent EU's objectives, helping the sector to become more digitised and circular will produce a more sustainable and resilient continental economy suitable for new mobility trends, greater employment opportunities and current and future environmental challenges," says Egea in its presentation paper.
 
The 12 measures, designed to assist EU institutions in identifying ways to rapidly relaunch the automotive aftermarket, cover several aspects of the problem: from financial and employment support, to defending free movement between member states, promoting a circular economy and, finally, a series of technical measures geared towards sustainability and the "European Green Deal". Among these, two proposals stand out: one to update roadworthiness procedures in order to eliminate harmful pollutants, and the other to encourage motorists to perform periodic "Eco-Checks. Proposals to update vehicle inspection tests in line with the recent technological progress have been discussed for some time but without results; several studies as well as single initiatives by individual member states go in the right direction, such as the forthcoming adoption of particulate matter checks in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium; but, beyond this, the vast majority of the EU keeps clinging to inspection models that were defined well over twenty years ago. On the other hand, Eco-Checks represent, in some ways, a new and courageous proposal, a regular control of polluting emissions, which has the declared aim of inducing motorists to take care of the maintenance of their vehicles by offering incentives and advantages in return, such as, for example, permission to drive in areas where polluting vehicles would be banned. This control, which should be carried out by garages, would certainly stimulate demand for additional services as vehicle owners become more aware of environmental issues.
 
Eco-Checks have been designed as a test model to check vehicles, quickly and easily, identifying any maintenance needed to reduce the overall level of harmful emissions in the EU. Tests would take place mainly on exhaust emissions, on-board anti-emission devices tested via Obd, air conditioning system and tires. These would be quick and inexpensive tests that could easily be performed in any qualified workshop. It goes without saying that, such an initiative will only have positive effects if it is widely adopted, and to achieve this citizens are offered "a good reason" to have their vehicles tested. Some countries, in fact, such as France and Belgium, are already independently studying similar initiatives; this means that, to a certain extent, EU citizens are already displaying an encouraging awareness to the problem. "We can promote economic activities along the entire aftermarket supply chain keeping in line with the broader objectives the EU has given itself," says Egea Secretary General Jordi Brunet, further confirming the central role played by auto-repair enterprises as a strategic component of the European economy, ready to make a real contribution towards the EU's strategic objectives.





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