Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-184"
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". Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to offer particularly warm congratulations to the rapporteur, Mr Harbour, on his report and to thank him for his work, which has yielded a really excellent result. On the tension between the Community’s rules on languages and the direct reference to international standards and regulations, I should like to say that the Commission accepts Amendment 25 because it believes that in this particular industrial sector a direct and up-to-date reference to such standards may significantly enhance its competitiveness. This applies both at global level and within the EU. The automotive sector is a global business. It therefore has a greater and more urgent need for international standards than some other sectors. The Commission supports the amendments to enable an agreement at second reading and is convinced that this proposal constitutes a balanced response to the interests of industry, haulage companies and consumers as well as the needs of the Member States. This proposal for a directive consists of a whole package of measures, which are intended to speed up the process of placing vehicles on the market in the Member States. This will indeed, as the representative of the German Presidency has just stressed, bring huge advantages for manufacturers, freight forwarders and users. Making the internal market a reality is indisputably one of the greatest success stories in European politics. However, when it comes to commercial vehicles, manufacturers have hitherto waited in vain for borders to be fully opened. Since 1996, the directive on the type approval of motor vehicles has been the European Community’s most important legal instrument for creating the internal market in the automotive sector. It was then that all classes of vehicles were given access to the internal market. The only exceptions were commercial vehicles, that is buses, lorries and their trailers, despite the fact that this is a sector of huge economic importance. In 2006 alone, two million new vans and more than a quarter of a million new lorries of over 16 tonnes were licensed in the Community. The vast majority of these vehicles were built in the European Union. In 2007 these figures will be substantially exceeded, if the data available for the first quarter are anything to go by. This new framework directive seeks above all to extend the principle of a standard Community-wide type-approval procedure to all vehicles. In addition, automotive manufacturers will no longer need to build vehicles in line with the regulations in each individual Member State to be permitted to sell them there. Instead, harmonised technical specifications will apply, bringing economies of scale into play and avoiding out-dated administrative procedures. Haulage companies will also benefit from this and, in the end, consumers. A further essential point in this directive is that new vehicles will have to comply with a whole series of directives on technical harmonisation in the field of vehicle safety. Precisely at a time when commercial vehicles do not enjoy a good reputation amongst the public, this will make a decisive contribution to improving road safety across the European Union. Obviously, small and medium-sized enterprises have not been forgotten. They too will have easier access to the internal market. Manufacturers of special purpose vehicles or small series vehicles and body-builders, who usually work on behalf of haulage companies, will benefit from simplified procedures, which will not involve too much red tape. I fully agree with Mr Harbour’s point about those companies that modify vehicles to meet the needs of disabled users. It was very important to find a way to resolve this problem together. I am delighted that the recommendations made by the CARS 21 high level group, that was set up on my initiative, have been incorporated unchanged into this proposal for a directive. CARS 21 has enabled us to define the legislative framework within which we will move when designing future technical regulations. There is one further important point to be mentioned here: international regulations are becoming increasingly significant, in this case regulations that are currently being drafted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. An additional factor is that in various respects we are abolishing out-dated Community law and are allowing manufacturers to submit their own test results to obtain a type approval."@en1
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