On 29 November 2023, the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) hosted its annual conference in the European Parliament, bringing together policymakers, organisations and industry leaders to participate in a dialogue on the EU Industrial Transition and the European Declaration on Cycling.
Key discussions on the political perspectives of public-private synergies for the cycling industry in Europe were held.
Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet, had a key role at the event and he emphasized the need for a European Cycling Declaration and a robust European bicycle industry, highlighting the importance of a united European Union, he said that cycling contributes to a better health, planet, mobility and economy.
He pointed out that one euro invested into cycling brings 2 euros back to the investing countries. As Minister of Mobility in Belgium, he strongly believes in the role Europe to boost cycling policies. He promises to promote cycling and its development during the Belgian presidency starting in January 2024.
Karima Delli, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Transport Committee believes the conference organized together with CONEBI at the European Parliament was a clear signal that there’s momentum in Europe to push for stronger policies in favour of cycling and the cycling industry.
Agreeing with Mr.Gilkinet about the positive climate impact of cycling, she pointed out how the cycling revolution can ease congestion. She elaborates on how it’ll be good for jobs, with 1 million potential new jobs by 2030 in Europe with the adequate support. She said: “The time has come for a strong commitment at EU level to cycling as a fully-fledged mode of transport and to its industry as one of the key industries in Europe.”
Jorge Delgado, Secretary of State for Urban Mobility Portugal said: “In 2023 Portugal achieved the distinction of being the largest European bicycle producer for the fourth consecutive year.”
He mentioned that the European anti-dumping measures for the sector and the role of the national association ABIMOTA were fundamental for this boost. Portugal's commitment to carbon neutrality, the benefits of bicycle mobility, the policies in place to support cycling, and its leadership position in bicycle production highlight their commitment, sustainability and innovation.
Industrial policy is essential both at the European and national levels, and the existence of a bicycle production cluster in Portugal represents a unique opportunity. He states if the role of the Portuguese government is crucial in supporting bicycle investments, the support of the European Union for this industry is essential.
Ms. Karima Delli, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Transport Committee.
The event featured two panel discussions, one on the political aspect of the industrial transition and the other on the EU Member States' role in promoting and implementing the future European Declaration on Cycling.
The panel discussed industrial policy and public-private partnerships in Europe, emphasizing collaboration and the importance of the "Mobility Transition Pathway." Key themes included data leveraging, product-specific legislation, and Trade Defense Measures. The panelists emphasized the need for continued dialogue with the industry in the upcoming follow-up and implementation phases.
Panel 1 - From Left to Right: Mr. Raymond Gense, PON Mobility, Director (CIE), Ms. Friederike Pischnick, Bosch, Senior Expert Sustainable Mobility with focus on eBikes, Mr. Mark Nicklas, European Commission, DG Grow I2, Head of Unit, Ms. Adriana Moima, Eurosport DHS, Executive Director, Mr. Thierry du Crest, Directorate-General for Infrastructure, Transport and Mobility France (DGITM), National Cycling and Walking Officer, Mr. Mathias Heirl, CONEBI, Policy Officer.
The second panel discussed the European Commission's Declaration on Cycling, emphasizing the need for an agreement between EU Member States, the European Parliament, and the Commission before the EU elections next year.
The panel highlighted the need for EU Member States to develop cycling infrastructure, improve safety measures, and promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation. Key messages included the importance of developing intermodal mobility systems, lowering VAT on bicycle and e-bike purchases, and addressing the challenge of safe parking infrastructure.
Panel 2 - From Left to Right: Mr. Holger Haubold, European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Director Intellectual Property & Data Collection, Ms. Julienne Chen, EIT Urban Mobility, Head of City Partnerships, Ms. Anke Schäffner, Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV), Chief Policy Officer, Mr. Bertrand Tison, Decathlon, EU Public Affairs, Mr. Torsten Klimke, European Commission, DG Move B3, Head of Unit, Mr. Martin Eder, Austria, Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, National Cycling Officer, Mr. Thomas Mourey, Project Coordinator, Eurocities.
Professor of Climate Change Mitigation Stefano Caserini, presented a study by Politecnico of Milano on enhancing European component production for emission savings.
Prior to the conference he had previously said: “With climate change, it is always the poor who pay the highest price. Climate change will impact all sectors of our lives, without exception. There will be economic, environmental, social consequences but also on relationships between human beings.
“Every single citizen has a political role, and therefore the first action to take to combat climate change is to exercise it and direct governments' choices," presented a study by Politecnico of Milano on enhancing European component production for emission savings.”
Professor Stefano Caserini, Polytechnic University of Milan.
Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI, General Manager, said: “Wrapping up 2023 with such a high-level and diverse line of speakers, exchanging ideas on the challenges ahead was important for the work we do in Brussels to represent our sector.
“We remain active on the EU dossiers linked to Batteries, Ecodesign and Right to Repair, E-Bikes, Cargo Bikes, Machinery, and of course we look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with all the EU institutions on the Transition Pathway and the European Declaration on Cycling, just to mention a few.”
From Left to Right: Mr. Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility Belgium and Mr. Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI, General Manger.