The European Commission has decided to support the European automotive industry in response to the current financial crisis in order to reduce its negative impacts and ensure long-term competitiveness. In announcing this policy, the Commission indicated that the existing EU programmes are adequate to achieve these goals and that new legislation would not be forthcoming. Actions already taken by the Commission include (i) organising the exchange of best practice guidelines to ensure the rapid adoption of national schemes and (ii) proposing common principles to serve as the basis on which car scrapping schemes should be adopted.

With regard to the existing legal and policy framework, the Commission stated that several programme funds and policy instruments can be utilised to support this sector. These include the European Economic Recovery Plan issued by the Council last November, the recently revised Temporary Framework for State aid measures and the possible qualification of car manufacturers’ financial divisions for aid under the schemes adopted by the Commission for the banking sector.