Stellantis boss demands better protection of the European car market from Chinese competition

Las Vegas/Rüsselsheim (dpa) – The head of Opel’s parent company Stellantis has called on the EU to better protect the European car industry from emerging Chinese competition. Without EU intervention, European car manufacturers are threatened by similar conditions as the solar panel industry, warned Carlos Tavares. Stellantis is Europe’s second-largest group of carmakers after Volkswagen, with numerous brands such as Peugeot, Fiat and Opel. EU regulation currently results in around 40 percent higher costs in domestic production of electric cars.

German manufacturers do much better business in China than the Stellantis Group, which is struggling with sales problems and recently closed a Jeep plant in China. At the Paris Motor Show, French President Emmanuel Macron issued the industrial policy goal of making his country a great car nation again as part of the switch to electric vehicles. In this context, Macron also spoke of re-industrialization and announced government support for domestic manufacturers. (January 6)

The EU closes ranks with Lula’s Brazil

Brasilia/Brussels (EFE) – Brazilian authorities are assessing the damage caused when supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro invaded the headquarters of the three branches of government in Brasilia on Sunday. They are continuing work to arrest those responsible for the attacks on democratic institutions, perpetrated by Bolsonaro’s supporters. The attacks were condemned in the strongest terms by the European Union and the international community that supports President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

On Sunday, thousands of Bolsonaro’s supporters invaded the National Congress building as well as the Planalto Palace, the seat of government, and the Supreme Court building in the Brazilian capital. Control was later regained by security forces. At least 300 people were detained for these attacks, which Bolsonaro tepidly condemned on his social networks. Another 1,200 of Bolsonaro’s supporters were detained in the camp that they had set up in front of the Army headquarters in Brasilia since the October elections.

On behalf of the EU-27, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell reminded Brazilian political leaders, and especially ex-President Bolsonaro, that they “need to act responsibly and urge their supporters to go home. The place to resolve political differences is within Brazil’s democratic institutions and not through violence on the streets.” (January 8 and 9)

Eurozone: energy prices calm down and push down inflation

Brussels (AFP) – The latest figures confirmed good news coming from the inflation front in Europe, with a slowdown in price increases at the end of 2022, driven by an improvement in energy markets that seems to rule out the most grim economic scenarios.

The eurozone’s annual inflation rate fell in December for the second month in a row, to 9.2 percent, after 10.1 percent in November, Eurostat announced on Friday. The increase in consumer prices fell below the symbolic 10-percent-mark for the first time since October, when it reached a record 10.6 percent, after a year and a half of uninterrupted increases.

Driven by gas, oil and electricity prices, and to a lesser extent by food prices, inflation worsened from spring 2022 with market disruptions linked to the war in Ukraine. (January 6)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.