Brussels, 22 June 2012 – The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) has awarded its annual College of Europe thesis award to Isabel Mancuso, an International Relations and Diplomacy Master’s Degree candidate. Ms Mancuso’s thesis, entitled “Europa and the Dragon: the EU’s toolbox for providing access to Chinese markets”, was deemed to be the best College of Europe thesis on the subject of competitiveness.

Ms Manusco’s thesis reflects the firm conviction that the EU needs to have a robust trade policy and a sustainable approach to industry and employment. It argues that the EU must “use multilateral and bilateral, as well as both formal and informal, instruments” in order to “eliminate trade barriers in China and to guarantee market access for European companies”. Ms Manusco’s work is topical in the context of the recent CARS21 Report on the Competitiveness and Sustainable Growth of the Automotive Industry in the EU, which focuses on improving the competitiveness of the auto industry in a global perspective.

Mancuso concluded that the EU must be “assertive and rigorous” in its trading relations with China and argues that “a more common, integrated stance vis-à-vis China is necessary. Member States must set aside their different positions and must realise that they have much more weight if they combine their strengths”.

The ACEA Annual Competitiveness Award, now in its seventh year, awards a College of Europe student for a thesis that shows academic excellence and investigates a dimension of EU regulation and industry competitiveness without necessarily being automotive-industry specific.

Ivan Hodac, ACEA Secretary General, applauded the work saying “this thesis demonstrates a clear understanding of the major issues at stake in EU trade policy, particularly in its appraisal that bilateral relations are only one of many possible tools for conducting trade negotiations”.

The cooperation between ACEA and the College of Europe is rooted in the mutual conviction that close understanding is essential between industry, business, academia and the EU institutions, many of which recruit from the College of Europe.

About ACEA

The European automotive industry is key to the strength and competitiveness of Europe. The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT S.p.A., Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Hyundai Motor Group, Iveco S.p.A., Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Truck & Bus, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault Group, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Group. They provide direct employment to more than 2.3 million people and indirectly support another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest over €26 billion in R&D, or 5% of turnover.