EAC press release
Brussels/Berlin, 27 April 2020 – The dissemination of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is currently drastically restricting the right to freedom of movement in Europe. On the one hand there are border controls, on the other hand there are different mobility rules and regulations within the individual European countries that could mean a limited confinement, a ban on contacts or even an absolute curfew, accordingly the traffic density on Europe's roads has decreased significantly. Despite initial announcements of easing measures, caution - and consideration - is still required.
Local and long-distance public transport was reduced and suspended in many places in the wake of the pandemic, on top of that it is also considered to be risky due to the inevitably higher density of people. "What remains is the individual private transport, that is, the recourse to the car, motorcycle, bicycle or walking," stated EAC President Bernd Opolka clearly emphasising, "Individual mobility is today more crucial than ever before. For the absolutely required mobility, such as for the journey to work, grocery shopping or seeing a doctor, there is often times no other alternative for your own car that is equally suitable and useful. You are on your own and can reduce the relatively manageable risk of infection, such as when charging or refueling, to a minimum by observing the known hygiene regulations. "
EAC Vice-President Holger Küster also said, “The crisis has given us a new perspective on our mobility. Suddenly we get an unmistakable proof for the importance of diversifying the offer of means of transport. If buses and trains are no longer fully available, you can count yourself lucky if you still have your own car. Now it is becoming clear that biased, general demands for the expulsion of the car were off the track.” In addition, Holger Küster claimed that the existing driving bans must also be rethought, “We are now seeing that, despite a drastic decline in traffic, air pollutants continue to reach peak values, for example in Stuttgart. This shows that these massive interventions in our individual mobility are founded on a highly questionable basis.”
"For all those who have to work or have to get hold of things that cannot be postponed and have a car and use it actively in times of crisis, there must not be excessive additional costs.", clarified EAC Vice-President Günther Schweizer underscoring, "On the contrary, the shift towards to the car must be facilitated with vigour, for example by extending the validity of the parking ticket or providing cheaper parking spaces in inner-city garages.”
Driving not only guarantees needs-based mobility, but also contributes to the containment of the virus through exposing by virtue of the nature road users in public spaces to fewer health risks.
The European Automobile Clubs (EAC) is a consumer association representing the interests of more than three million people. As a partner for mobility, our vision is a Europe without borders where travelling becomes easy. That requires harmonising traffic laws between the EU Member States and driving forward innovative technologies – to ensure greater safety and sustainability on the roads.
Contact person for further enquiries:
Garunya Wieczorek MA (IEP Paris), MSc (LSE) Referentin
Brüsseler Büro Berliner Büro
Avenue Michel-Ange 69 Leipziger Platz 8 | Post: Erna-Berger-Str. 5
BE-1000 Brüssel DE-10117 Berlin
T +32 (0)2 734 1562 T +49 (0)30 95 998 648