EU needs industrial deal, new VP position: associations

Europe needs a “real and tangible” Industrial Policy covering the full supply chain to ensure it does not drop out of the world’s clean technology race, a host of industrial associations including Eurofer have urged in a letter to EU heads of government.

The industry representatives say the next European Commission must appoint an executive vice president responsible for delivering the EU’s full industrial policy rethink.

Action is required against the threat of further European deindustrialisation and supply insecurity. “Global competition for clean technology and raw materials leadership has intensified. China has established a growing footprint across most clean tech sectors, while the US has taken a decisive step forward with its Inflation Reduction Act,” the associations say in the letter seen by Kallanish.

“All this is happening while Europe’s investment situation has worsened since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with high energy prices, inflation, and growing supply risks. Europe’s ambitions are heavily challenged – from our wind industry to our electric and fuel cell vehicle supply chains, to our solar and electrolysers manufacturing goals, to our metal and chemicals producers,” it continues.

The associations have asked member state governments to request that the next European Commission delivers an “EU Clean Industrial Deal” competitiveness package in its first 100 days of office.

Industry representatives request five pillars from an EU industrial deal, including for the bloc to make its financial tools much easier to access for companies, learning from the US Inflation Reduction Act. Significant new sources of EU-level funding specifically allocated to clean energy supply chains will be essential. Secondly, the EU’s new rules on fast-tracking permitting for production and deployment need to be enforced at national level, for all cleantech sectors.

Next, the EU must urgently deliver globally competitive energy prices that bring competitiveness and investment certainty to both generators and consumers. This is the key precondition to ensure Europe’s energy transition and the security of energy, metals, and clean technologies supply, the associations observe.

EU industry and trade policies should be designed strategically to support clean tech manufacturing and supply chain goals, including remedying third-country unfair practices, and establishing free trade agreements for raw materials, energy, and technology transfer.

Finally, Europe’s focus on developing full domestic supply chains needs appropriate market incentive measures that reward technology producers for procuring local materials or components, the letter concludes.

Adam Smith Poland