Exchange Group: Just Transition in the European Car Industry

Cars account for about 20 percent of Europe's current CO2 emissions. Achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal will require the transformation of the automotive industry. We are starting to see some changes, with increasing sales of electric vehicles and bans on cars with combustion engines as of 2030. Other changes in the mobility sector include car sharing, the targeted promotion of bicycles and local public transport in cities, and developments in autonomous driving. These changes represent a major challenge for the automotive industry, its suppliers and employees. An electric car, for example, requires far fewer parts in production than a car with a combustion engine. Today there are almost 14 million jobs in this sector in the EU. This makes it a key industry for the EU as a whole, and particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. The described changes threaten jobs and the current role of the sector. This makes it necessary to identify ways to support all affected interest groups when making the automotive industry climate neutral.

Despite the urgency, the transformation remains in the early stages. With this project, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) wants to actively address and shape the development of a just transition in the automotive industry and among its suppliers. In five partner countries – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary and Germany – the project will establish an exchange group between European actors for a just transition in the automotive industry, develop bottom-up paths for transition, make policy recommendations for the respective country and the EU, and inform the public.

As part of the project, adelphi is researching what a just transition in the European automotive industry might look like, what the current status is, what options exist for a just transition, and the role of politics. The think tank will support this research with stakeholder interviews in Germany. adelphi is also developing workshops for the exchange group, and will create a country report on Germany and organise the final conference.