The European Union has put forward a cleantech industrial plan to keep up in the race with China and the United States for a green industry transition. The Green Deal Industrial Plan will make it easier to push through subsidies for green industries and work towards the goal set by the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050.
The European Commission has proposed allowing increased levels of state aid in order for Europe to compete with the United States as a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and other green products.
In the coming months, the Commission will propose a Net-Zero Industry Act that could streamline permitting processes and harmonise standards and a Critical Raw Materials Act to promote local extracting, processing and recycling. This would in turn make the EU less dependent on China as a source of rare earth materials, components which are crucial in the transition to hydrogen and wind power, as well as for battery storage.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced, as part of the plan, a repurposing of existing EU funds, faster approval of green projects and drives to boost skills and seal trade agreements to secure supplies of critical raw materials.
– We know that we have a small window to invest in cleantech and innovation to gain leadership before the fossil fuel economy becomes obsolete, Ursula von der Leyen said.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also commented:
– As a union, we are not living up to our full economic potential. Our productivity lags behind and fewer and fewer of the biggest firms on the planet are EU-based.