The second annual meeting of the Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA) held in Pamplona highlighted the urgent need for additional European Union (EU) funding to sustain the global competitiveness of the European automotive industry.
While acknowledging Europe’s leadership in automotive innovation, regional leaders emphasized the potential setback without adequate financial backing, workforce reskilling, and supportive infrastructure.
The European automotive sector, constituting 7% of total EU employment and supporting over 13 million jobs, faces a transformative shift toward zero-emission and digitalized vehicles.
Concerns from 26 member regions of the ARA prompted a “Navarra Declaration,” urging the establishment of a European mechanism within the Multiannual Financial Framework. This mechanism aims to counteract the disruptive effects of the industry’s ongoing transition and fortify its overall competitiveness.
María Chivite, President of the Regional Government of Navarra and Chair of the ARA, stressed the crucial role of public support and private-public cooperation in navigating a successful and fair digital and sustainable transition. The ‘Navarra Declaration’ advocates for resource allocation toward training and reskilling, emphasizing collaboration through public-private partnerships.
Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, highlighted the importance of making the transformation of automotive regions a question of territorial cohesion, ensuring support for individuals whose jobs are at risk. The ARA, Automotive Skills Alliance, and the CoR’s Future of the Automotive Industry Interregional Group pledged to collaborate on a just transition. Their efforts will focus on reskilling and upskilling regional workforces, fostering strategic projects, exchanging best practices, and advocating for increased support.
The ARA’s commitment to decarbonize the transport sector aligns with the EU’s climate targets and the European Green Deal. With 35 participating regions, the Alliance plays a crucial role, especially with the internal combustion phase-out by 2035. The EU Commission is mandated to report on the budgetary resources needed for this transition by the end of 2025, with the Automotive Regions Alliance’s work serving as a foundation.
The just transition in Europe’s automotive regions remains a central concern, necessitating continued EU support and cohesive policies beyond the current budget cycle. The ARA, in collaboration with regional and local stakeholders, envisions a resilient and competitive European automotive industry in the face of evolving global demands.