Ursula Von der Leyen advocates the creation of an EU sovereign fund
While China and the US attract billions in subsidies for industrialists, Europe wants to pull out the checkbook. “In the medium term, we will prepare a European sovereign fund as part of the mid-term review of our budget, which will take place at the end of this year,” This Tuesday, January 17, on the first day of debates organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the official said. However, he did not reveal how this fund will be financed.
This is not the first time that the head of the European executive has put forward the idea of a sovereign fund based on joint financing at the EU level. However, the measure faces hostility from many member states, including Germany, and net contributors to the European budget who are worried about seeing their bills rise further.
Despite this reluctance, Ursula von der Leyen defends the creation of this fund: “This is a structural solution that will increase the resources available for upstream research, innovation and strategic industrial projects essential to achieving net zero emissions” CO2, he insisted. The EU has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of its ambitious Green Deal.
Legislation to achieve a “net zero emission industry”.
In order to achieve this goal of a “net zero emission industry” in greenhouse gases, Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the European Commission will propose legislation to this end. “This new regulation (…) will set clear targets for clean technologies until 2030. The aim will be to direct investments to strategic projects along the supply chains” and “to simplify and speed up permit procedures for new production sites” green technologies.
“In parallel, we will think about ways to speed up the procedures for European clean technology “projects of common interest”, to facilitate their financing and the access of small companies.” he added. According to the head of the European executive power, this new law will be the subject of negotiations between the Member States and the European Parliament. “Follow the example” of the text already proposed by the Commission to increase the production of semiconductors.
Finally, “the regulation for net zero emission industries will go together with the text on critical raw materials”, Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that it aims to secure the EU’s supply of rare earths and lithium, which are especially important for the electrification of industry and green infrastructure (wind turbines, solar panels, etc.).
A transitional solution must be found
However, the creation of a sovereign wealth fund “it will take time” He knows Ursula von der Leyen. He warned to find common funding, supporting the comments made the day before by the Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni. “not for tomorrow”.
However, the head of the European executive still wanted to assure: “ We will look for a transition solution to provide fast and targeted support where it is needed most. To this end, we are working hard on needs assessment.”he added.
First, European money should be limited to the redistribution of suddenly available funds, recognize diplomats. The matter will be decided at the European Council on February 9 and 10, when the European Commission must present its proposals. A regulatory section designed to accelerate the growth of Europe’s “green technology” (green economy) should be introduced, as well as a financial section to ensure that all Member States have access to the resources needed to support this sector.
The desire to move faster
In Davos, Ursula von der Leyen also confirmed that the Commission will propose “Temporarily adapting (its) state aid rules to speed up and simplify things.” “Calculations will be easier. Simpler procedures. Approvals, expedited,” German official said.
A number of countries, including France, are rightly calling for further relaxation of the extremely strict regulatory framework governing state aid in the EU. Yesterday, Bruno Le Maire made a request “new deal” on industrial policy, defense of state aid “more massive” in green technologies. While emphasizing the importance of measures “too fast”. He specifically asked “the shock of simplification” new subsidies and tax credits in the hydrogen, electric batteries, solar panels or semiconductor sectors to speed up procedures, as well as the possibility to give preference to European companies in calls for public tenders.
Ursula von der Leyen, however, expressed concern that it might be possible on Tuesday “disintegration” He noted that there is a European market “only a few member states” the largest and richest countries have sufficient budgetary capacity to apply for public assistance at the risk of competition for the beneficiary subsidies. It is for this reason “We need to increase the funding of the European Union” she insisted.
Subsidies to industry: Europe promises “research”.
Ursula von der Leyen condemned this Tuesday in Davos “aggressive attempts” Aimed at attracting industrial potential from Europe, especially in the field of clean energy technologies, “To China and Elsewhere”. “We will not hesitate to open investigations if we believe that our public markets or other markets are being distorted by such subsidies,” he warned.