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‘eCall’ Regulation – European Parliament’s plenary session supports the free choice of consumers

eCall Regulation –  the European Parliament’s plenary session supports the free choice of consumers for “possible future in-vehicle applications”

On 26th of February, the European Parliament has voted in its plenary session with a large majority for  the proposal of a Regulation on the Europe-wide deployment of the eCall in-vehicle system.

This new electronic safety function installed in the vehicle is automatically triggered in case of a serious car accident and sends exact information about the location of the car to the emergency services, allowing them to intervene in a swift and timely manner.  The European Commission has estimated that up to 2,500 lives will be saved every year across Europe.

Although the scope of this Regulation is the eCall function only, the plenary has recognized the need to address the issue of the ‘interoperable, open-access, secured and standardised platform for possible future in-vehicle applications or services’.  The Parliament has recognised the potential spillover effect for the independent aftermarket if the eCall system, combined with wider in vehicle telematics applications, would not be openly accessible (in a standardised and secure way) to all independent operators. Vehicle manufacturers would in fact then be the only ones having access to this new in-vehicle telematics technology,  therefore being able to offer additional online services to the European customers which independent operators could not offer.  This would hamper the free and fair competition on the aftermarket and impose a limited choice to consumers. As a consequence, independent operators would lose in competitiveness.

 FIGIEFA was pleased to see that the plenary addressed the issue of the possible future in-vehicle applications by giving a clear mandate to the European Commission to start working on the technical specifications for such platform and develop a dedicated separate proposal on such issue.   After a broad consultation of vehicle manufacturers and independent operators and an impact assessment, the Commission will have to present the result of its work to the Parliament and the Council in the form of a legislative proposal by one year after the entry into force of the eCall Regulation.

Next steps

Following the plenary vote, informal negotiations between the Parliament and the Council may start. The Council is currently discussing the eCall Regulation with a view to have its position hopefully ready for  negotiations with the Parliament by the end of the Greek Presidency of the Council (June 2014).