Changing lanes: the transformation of the automotive industry as an international project

Online Conference

Source: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office, a member of transform! europe, organises this online event focusing on the crucial question on how to make the shift to ecological mobility.


The automotive industry is a global heavyweight: in 2019, 65 million new cars were sold worldwide, while millions of people work in the automotive industry and for its suppliers. The value chains are spread across many countries and account for much of the manufacturing industry in the respective local economies. However, advancing climate change shows us that some of the automotive industry must switch to producing other, more environmentally friendly forms of transport, namely local public transport for short journeys, and trains for passengers and freight travelling longer distances, because transport is the only sector where greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to rise over the years. This shows the need for a global Green New Deal for the transport sector, with an investment programme in local public transport and in rail.

At this web conference, we plan to discuss the challenges facing the automotive industry in Europe and North America and where a start could be made on transforming the automotive industry. How could the success of a switch to ecological mobility solutions such as rail, local public transport, freight bicycles and e-bikes be ensured? What kind of industrial policy do we need to enable the transformation of the automotive industry? How can employment be safeguarded? What role can the trade unions play here? What must the policy framework (international trade policy, economic policy and climate protection legislation) look like to provide support for such a change? How can a Green New Deal be put to good use in the transport sector, the only sector where CO2 emissions have kept increasing in recent years?

We have invited the following speakers to give presentations at this conference:

  • Martin Schirdewan (Germany), Co-President of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium;
  • Richard Feldman, James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, Detroit, United States;
  • Frederic Speidel, IG Metall trade union, Lower Saxony, Germany;
  • Carsten Hübner, Transatlantic Labor Institute, Tennessee, USA

An introduction will be given by Andreas Thomsen, Head of Office of the Brussels Office of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.

Facilitator: Manuela Kropp, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office

Interpreting will be provided in English, German and Spanish.