Germany took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July. Together with Portugal and Slovenia, Germany forms a so-called Trio Presidency. Over the next 18 months, the three countries, whose presidencies rotate every six months, will pursue a common agenda (summary).
At the top of this agenda is the promotion of a digital and pan-European transformation, with the aim of protecting citizens from illegal activities on the Internet and misinformation. For us as a data processing company, it is very gratifying that this very point is at the top of a program that Germany has played a leading role in. As laudable as this goal is, Germany of all countries has a lot of catching up to do in this area.
CARFAX is pursuing the vision of establishing a transparent and fair Used Car Market for everyone in Europe. To this purpose, we work together with countless partners throughout Europe, from ministries and registration authorities to inspection companies and law enforcement agencies. The cooperation usually looks similar: CARFAX gets access to vehicle-related data to create CVs for vehicles that are as detailed as possible - without reference to individuals.
Millions of Europeans can already inform themselves – but the largest market is missing
We are already doing this with great success. Our database contains more than 300 million European vehicles and millions of Europeans can use CARFAX to obtain important information before buying and selling a used car. But the largest market in the European Union does not play a role here. Data protection that is – in our view – too strict or wrongly interpreted, declares vehicle information to be personal data. German consumers and people who want to buy cars in Germany buy the proverbial pig in a poke, because they have little chance of gaining insight into the history of the vehicle. Information that could be important: manipulated mileage alone means billions of dollars worth of damage for people every year!
We have high hopes and expectations for this Trio Presidency, because there are few better partners for Germany than Slovenia and Portugal to drive the agenda forward, protecting citizens from illegal activities on the Internet and misinformation. Slovenia is one of the first markets in Europe that has made the establishment of vehicle histories possible thanks to extensive cooperation. CARFAX has been a permanent fixture on the Slovenian market since 2010.
With Portugal, which will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2021, there is a country on Germany's side that has already decided to allow more transparency in the used car market. Almost simultaneously with the assumption of the presidency, CARFAX will be able to provide millions of Portuguese citizens with comprehensive vehicle histories.
Germany must use this historic opportunity
Germany now has the historic opportunity to make up at European level for what has been missed at national level: to become a pioneer of the digital transformation with the aim of protecting people and providing them with the information they need to make confident (purchasing) decisions. This requires vehicle-related data to be made available to citizens as well as aggregators such as CARFAX. Germany in particular will be judged by this.
For a Europe in which we live well and happily.