|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.24, 14.6.01, p7|
EUROPEAN car firms say they are close to a deal with industry Commissioner Erkki Liikanen on a plan to ensure the manufacture of safer vehicles.
Liikanen wants them to find ways of reducing the number of pedestrians killed after being hit by cars - some 2,000 a year across the EU at present.
The firms, which have been examining the use of softer bumpers and low-impact metals, have until the end of this month to work out how to do this - without putting drivers and passengers at greater risk.
It is a difficult balancing act but Alfred Filippone, spokesman for European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), said: "We're confident that a deal can be reached in the next few days. Liikanen and [ACEA President & Fiat CEO] Paulo Cantarella are in constant contact by phone."
Filipone said the deal would include a package of measures to increase pedestrian safety "in an effective way".
But he insisted that European car firms would be looking to Japanese, Korean and other companies to strike similar deals with the Commission before they accepted the bargain.
Liikanen's spokesman Per Haugaard said talks with these countries were going according to plan.
However officials admitted that there were concerns in some quarters of the institution that firms should be forced to take action instead of being trusted to negotiate a voluntary deal.
Liikanen's plan is seen as the first example of 'co-regulation', in which policy-makers set informal targets and leave it to industry to meet them.
If they fail, they may be threatened with binding rules.
Meanwhile MEPs, such as UK socialist Mark Watts, are concerned that a voluntary deal is undemocratic because it would bypass the Parliament.
European car firms say they are close to a deal with industry Commissioner Erkki Liikanen on a plan to ensure the manufacture of safer vehicles.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Mobility and Transport|