FRIDAY MARCH 17, 2006
At a meeting in Gent, Nigel Hill has been re-elected ETRA president unanimously. Nigel Hill, aged 43, owns a bicycle shop in Sidcup, a town south of London. He has been on the ETRA board since 1999 and was elected vice-president of the European trade association in 2000. Three years later, he became ETRA president.
In the past six years, Nigel Hill has manifested himself in the ETRA Committee as a very active, vocal and constructive manager. He has never missed any meeting apart from the one at which he was first elected president. An operation of the back prevented him from being there.
Nigel Hill has a clear vision of the role and the tasks of ETRA: “I see ETRA as a vital instrument in putting the interests of the twowheel retailers’ community first. ETRA is the only association with the necessary in-depth knowledge and passion for our businesses and livelihoods. The main task of our association is to bring together the national professional associations in order to confer on what is in our interest and on what the European Commission has dreamt up that needs our direction. Civil servants do not always get the right idea and it is our job to influence their proposals.”
In order to make ETRA’s collective voice louder and stronger, Nigel Hill believes it is of fundamental importance to expand the ETRA membership. His view was endorsed at the ETRA meeting in Gent by the Committee’s decision that the recruitment of new members will be an absolute priority in the year to come. ETRA is confronted with the fact that bicycle, moped and motorcycle dealers in southern and eastern Europe are not or not well grouped. Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, it becomes all the more important for ETRA to guarantee its representativity.
Therefore, ETRA will be stepping up its efforts to get new associations on board or to assist dealers in creating an association in those countries where they do not yet exist. ETRA is also actively campaigning for associated membership among the twowheel businesses that are active at European level and have an interest in a strong dealer network.
At the same time, ETRA continues to work on the EU legislative issues which are currently at stake for the twowheel business. The main bicycle topics are VAT reduction, a European-wide ban on the sales of non-assembled bicycles and improving road safety for cyclists. As for PTWs, the most important issues on the table are the review of the driving licences, the combat against noise and the oil awareness campaign.
Nigel Hill’s closing comments on the importance of ETRA: “Whilst individual countries will have their unique problems, over my term of office on the Committee, I have been struck by how similar each country’s worries and experiences are. This, I believe, is proof that each country can learn from and strengthen each other.” In his new 3 years’ term Nigel Hill will be assisted by Vice-Presidents Erik Oddershede (Denmark) and Wim van Vliet (Holland).
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