Regarding the "Green Deal Industrial Plan" presented by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Henrike Hahn, MEP (Greens/EFA), Deputy speaker of the German Delegation, Industrial Policy Spokesperson of the European Group, comments:
"The Green Deal Industrial Plan is mainly a list of minor opportunities for improvement of already existing EU instruments.
The EU Innovation Fund, for example, is an important pillar for the competitiveness and decarbonisation of the energy-intensive EU industry. However, the EU Innovation Fund´s volume is still not sufficient for the large financial deployment of EU Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfDs), which could properly support European companies, especially with regard to the IRA.
The Commission's Green Deal Industrial Plan fails to deliver a demand for increasing existing EU funds to support European green industry in a sufficient way. The Commission´s remarks are vague and do not formulate a clear stance in light of the upcoming mid-term review of the EU budget where such changes can be made.
The Green Industrial Plan proposes a European Sovereignty Fund, but without giving details on its design and, above all, its amount and financing.
A European Sovereignty Fund shall finance the industrial green transformation while also securing European production capacities in important green key industries in the long term.
The Commission plans a large part of the necessary financing to be provided by member states. This shall be made possible by creating the state aid guidelines more flexible.
The different financial possibilities for subsidising green investments, for example in the form of tax breaks for individual member states, are in fact a challenge to the integrity of the EU internal market.
The EU Chips Act, which has just been adopted by the European Parliament's Industry Committee, addresses this challenge by introducing the state aid criterion of "first of a kind". This is supposed to ensure that green product and process innovations, that were not previously present in Europe, can now receive state support. In this way, competitiveness, the integrity of the internal market and climate protection are cleverly put together.
The upcoming revision of the EU debt rules also becomes particularly relevant in view of the flexibilisation of state aid rules proposed in the Industrial Plan, as all member states lack the financial space for the necessary investments and tax relief under the current set of rules. Therefore, a reform of the Stability and Growth Pact must urgently be considered.
One of the few newly envisaged initiatives is the so-called "Critical Raw Materials Club". Increased international cooperation with partner countries to secure critical and sustainably extracted raw materials will be crucial for Europe's transformation and the competitiveness of the European industry. We need active partnerships for crucial raw materials at a European level so that we establish reliable and strong supply chains among like-minded partners - reaching from the United States to the Ukraine.
European industry faces huge challenges with the war in Europe, the energy crisis and supply chain issues.
The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with strong protectionist elements, encourages a migration of strategically important industries that are crucial to the transformation of the European economy. The European Commission must find strong responses with innovative, smart policy instruments to strengthen a European green industry that goes beyond bare subsidies and is avoiding a trade war. Much more needs to happen here - for instance with proposals for concrete projects, such as the EU Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfDs)."
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.