Press release: Henrike Hahn MEP (The Greens/EFA) on the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) - A small, further step towards a green, competitive industrial policy in Europe

Today, 22 February 2024, the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets and Industry (BUDG-ITRE) adopted the report on the Strategic Technology Platform for Europe (STEP) with 59 votes in favour, 7 against and 1 abstention. Bavarian MEP Henrike Hahn (The Greens/EFA), industrial policy spokesperson and deputy head of the German Greens in the European Parliament, shadow rapporteur for the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) in the Committee on Budgets (BUDG), comments:

"With STEP, we are laying a first foundation stone for financing green, competitive industrial policy in Europe. In times of a massive lack of investment in the green transformation, high energy prices and the Inflation Reduction Act in the USA, we urgently need strong financing instruments for European industry and SMEs.

With STEP, Parliament is now setting the initial course for this. However, it is clear that a disproportionate plundering of cohesion funds or reallocation of financing cannot be a substitute in Europe for strong investments with fresh money to provide tangible support for European companies.

The introduction of a STEP quality label and the adaptation of existing funding programmes should now make it easier for regional and national authorities and the Commission to identify projects that contribute to the EU's economic independence and competitiveness in critical sectors.

Companies that are central to the digital and green transformation can thus receive funding more quickly and reliably and taxpayers' money is put to good use. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies in the EU are now benefiting from this.

The concrete financing of green industrial policy is still in its infancy at European level, even with STEP - much more is needed here. We urgently need a sovereignty fund financed by new EU own resources. The refusal of some member states, especially a German finance minister, is completely out of place here. European industry needs European solutions and not national solo efforts - only together can the EU take the lead in green industrial policy.

The negotiations on the revision of the multiannual financial framework and STEP are clearly a missed opportunity to strengthen green, competitive industry in Europe. A promise to possibly extend STEP in three years is not enough now.

Cohesion funds can now make a contribution to European and green industrial policy. At the same time, effective Green industrial policy is also concrete cohesion policy. STEP will also benefit the regions in Europe, which will be integrated into the supply chains of European sectors of the future. It is personally important to me that STEP funds benefit both Europe's locomotive regions and regions with less financial leeway for investment.

It was also extremely important to us Greens that we were able to stop the Member States from trying to greenwash the calculation of the contribution of cohesion funds to combating climate change.

A personal success for me is that the STEP label means that selected projects cannot be relocated to non-European countries. Furthermore, we oblige companies to comply with applicable national, European and international labour law and collective agreements.

In this way, we ensure that European funding goes and stays where we want it to go and that EU taxpayers' money is only spent in accordance with the highest possible social standards. This is how we maintain industrial funding in Europe."


I will be happy to answer any further questions.


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