[Fsfe-ie] A classic example of the narrow vested interests of the few...

Teresa Hackett [default] teresahackett at eircom.net
Fri Sep 17 03:48:42 CEST 2004

This is a Frits Bolkestein quote in relation to Commission proposals on the
spare car parts market, see full quote below. Useful analogy for DRM.


Car industry attacked over spares market
By Tobias Buck in Brussels and James Mackintosh in London
Published: September 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 15 2004 03:00

Frits Bolkestein, the European Union internal market commissioner, launched
a stinging attack on Europe's car industry yesterday for opposing his plans
to liberalise the €10bn (£6.8bn) vehicle spare parts market.

The proposals finally won backing from the European Commission yesterday
after months of conflict and lobbying by car companies.

Their campaign was yesterday described by Mr Bolkestein as "a classic
example of the narrow vested interests of the few, namely a handful of large
car manufacturers with huge resources, trying to undermine the broader
interests of the many, namely car owners throughout Europe".

Mr Bolkestein also warned members of the European parliament, who now have
to approve the plans along with EU member states, to stand firm against
pressure from carmakers: "They are about to turn the full focus of their
attention on you. I appeal to you to stand firm."

The industry signalled it was preparing to do exactly that, saying it hoped
the parliament and ministers from member states would look at its arguments
in "a more balanced and rigorous way".

Under the proposals, carmakers will lose the exclusive right to sell visible
replacement parts for the cars they manufacture, including bumpers, doors
and lights.

Some member states already allow competition in this market, and the
Commission argued that car parts are 6-10 per cent more expensive in
countries not open to competition.

The industry denied this, and said the result of competition would be job
losses to Taiwan and potentially dangerous components going on sale.

Among commissioners opposing the plans was Germany's Günter Verheugen, who
currently serves as enlargement commissioner but will take over the industry
portfolio in November.

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