MEPs warn against easing state aid rules –

MEPs fear that large member states such as France and Germany will gain a competitive advantage if state aid rules are relaxed within the EU. They demand the adoption of the EU Sovereignty Fund.

On Wednesday (January 18th), MEPs debated the competitiveness of EU industry and the Commission’s plans to boost production.

Faced with fears of industry leaving the Union, many MEPs have warned of market distortions due to easing rules on national subsidies. According to the members of the European Parliament, this relaxation will mainly benefit the big Member States like Germany and France.

Europe must have an answer “one solution for all”, “Not for the lucky few”Esther de Lange, a Dutch deputy of the European People’s Party (EPP), said during the debate.

Bogdan Rzonca, a Polish member of the European Parliament from the European Conservatives and Reformers (ECR) party, went even further.

“How can it be that we are in a situation where Germany allocated 200 billion euros to German companies? » he asked about Germany’s €200 billion energy plan, which has caused a stir in the EU, even though it wasn’t just about saving business. Indeed, it also includes resources to help households with their electricity and gas bills.

“100 billion euros are paid from France to French companies, while other member states do not receive the necessary support”he added.

The discussions took place a day after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a proposal to temporarily relax state aid rules at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The proposal is aimed at retaining companies and persuading them not to relocate to countries such as the US and China, which have recently taken sweeping measures to attract foreign investment.

Ms von der Leyen also announced new legislation and a proposal for a new European fund “structural solution” Promoting EU production of green technologies such as solar systems or heat pumps as envisaged in the European Green Deal (The Green Deal).

The proposal was welcomed by EU lawmakers during a debate on Wednesday.

Reacting to the speech of the Commission Chairman, Mrs. de Lange said: “The Green Deal cannot be successful if it does not create enough jobs and quality jobs in Europe.”

Strengthening green industry

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton detailed the Commission’s plans to the European Parliament.

As for digitization, the goal has already been set: “To increase the EU’s global market share in the semiconductor sector to 20% by 2030”, explained Mr. Breton.

This objective is part of the Semiconductor Regulation, the details of which are still being debated in Parliament.

“Let’s do the same for the Green Pass! »Mr. Breton declared before members of the European Parliament.

According to the commissioner, the climate neutrality goal of the EU for 2050 should be achieved “Thanks to a strong European industrial base”.

New rules for the zero-emissions industry announced on Tuesday (Jan 17) will go in that direction, as will those for semiconductors.

“Faced with this new structural reality, the framework we are putting in place should not only benefit major industrialized countries. We need solutions that protect the internal market and ensure a level playing field.”– said Mr. Breton.

New EU debt

According to MEPs from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), new debt in the EU is essential to protect the internal market and ensure a level playing field.

Not a relaxation of state aid rules “not enough” Patrizia Toia, the Italian deputy of this group, stated. Thus, some member states will not be able to help their businesses and citizens, he said.

“We need a new “Next Generation EU”. [l’instrument de relance]. Everything else is useless.”he added.

Rene Repasi, a member of the German parliament from the same group, made similar comments.

“We need public money to steer our economy in the right direction”, he declared. But this money should be paid by the EU, not the member states, Mr. Repasi said.

“Don’t jeopardize the single market”he warned the European commissioner.

“We should not relax state aid rules because some member states can afford it. [mais] is at risk of sacrificing competition and the internal market”, continued Mr. Rapasi. from “debt-financed permanent investment funds” There must be a response at the EU level.

According to the liberal group “Renew Europe”, subsidies will not be enough.

“We cannot compete for national subsidies – neither outside nor inside Europe”– said Dita Charanzova, member of the Czech European Parliament (Renewal Europe) and vice-president of the European Parliament.

We want ‘Made in Europe’ products, but we want them made here because the economic environment, our well-trained workforce and regulations make businesses want to grow here.”Mrs. Charanzova said.

The aim is to prevent companies from taking advantage of the subsidies and then leaving the continent again, Ms. Charanzova continued.

The original article in German can be found here.

[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]

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