The European Parliament's Committees on Budgets and Industry (BUDG-ITRE) yesterday evening adopted the report on the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) with 43 votes in favor (6 against and 15 abstentions). MEP Henrike Hahn (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), industrial policy spokesperson and deputy speaker of the German European delegation, shadow rapporteur for the Platform for Strategic Technologies for Europe in the Committee on Budgets, comments:
"STEP is far from being an adequate response to the Inflation Reduction Act to support competitive green industrial policy in. STEP can only be a first step towards a fully-fledged sovereignty fund financed by new EU own resources to strengthen competitive industry in Europe. We are therefore calling on the Commission across all political groups to present a new proposal on this by the end of 2025.
With STEP, we are now making existing funding pots, such as the Innovation Fund, InvestEU or Horizon, available in a targeted manner for the promotion of green and digital technologies of the future - for small and medium-sized enterprises and also for large companies.
The cohesion funds will also make their valuable contribution to a European and green industrial policy. However, it must be clear that we must not disproportionately plunder existing valuable programmes and funding sources for STEP. When it comes to funding large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, we need an appropriate balance and also adequate consideration of the European regions.
With a progressive majority against the EPP, we have now drawn up a funding package that supports both member states with less fiscal leeway and Europe's stronger regions. By doing so, we are putting in place European industrial funding that does not get bogged down in purely national funding, but has a cross-border effect for companies throughout Europe.
A personal success for me is that projects selected under the STEP quality seal may not be relocated outside Europe. This ensures that European funding is allocated and unfolds its effect where we want it. Therefore, STEP funding will benefit focused European projects for a green competitive industry.
Rasmus Andresen (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), budget policy spokesman and spokesman for the German European delegation, shadow rapporteur for the Platform for Strategic Technologies for Europe in the Industry Committee adds:
"STEP is no major leap forward. Instead of recycling a lot of old funds, we need a real investment fund with new resources. STEP is only a first step towards the fiscal capacity we need.
Especially given STEP's small volume, we would have liked to see a more targeted focus on strategic areas, such as the expansion of renewable energy and raw materials. We as Greens also want to place an emphasis on the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises. We will keep advocating for this in the further negotiations."
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