European policy makers appear to be viewing positively the request from European car manufacturers’ for EUR 40 billion in loans to develop green technologies. On 17 October, the European Investment Bank announced that it was ready to increase loans to the car industry for both 2009 and 2010. It is expected that most of the money will be earmarked to help the industry develop greener cars in accordance with the European Union’s commitment to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. EU Commissioner for Industry, Günter Verheugen, has also advocated “exceptional measures” to help European car manufacturers in difficulty. The nature of such additional measures is as yet unclear, but Verheugen stated that this will not include direct subsidies. An economic re-launch plan is expected to be presented in Brussels on 26 November and will include measures to help the car industry.
Meanwhile, European leaders have warned the United States that any financial support to US car makers will be scrutinised closely by the European institutions. Commission President Barroso said the European Union would not hesitate to complain to the World Trade Organisation if it deemed any prospective US measures to be illegal State aid.