The European Parliament backs the new industrial strategy for the EU
The European Parliament has adopted with 503 votes in favour, 40 against and 18 abstentions a resolution on the implementation of the updated New Industrial Strategy for Europe. The text has the main goal to aligning spending to policy and reaching a European industrial sovereignty.
CO2 emissions from the industrial sector have fallen by 35 % since 1990, partly due to the relocation of the production. In contrast, compared to business as usual, the estimated economic potential of reducing final energy consumption by 2030 is 23.5 % for European industry.
Members of the Parliament stressed that "the Green Deal needs to be accompanied by an ambitious industrial policy" in order to make the European Union "a competitive front runner in a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sustainable economy, and to create synergies between businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)". Moreover, it has been stressed that this need has increased significantly as a result of the ongoing climate and energy crisis and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
"We need to ensure that our strategic industrial sectors are more independent, which means in time that research and development are absolutely essential. We must try to seek greater innovation in areas which can make us more independent so that we can remain strong in the context of any future negotiations", said Tom Berendsen, rapporteur of the text during his speech at the plenary session in Strasbourg. He refers to European chip producers' share which has fallen from 25% to 10%, as well as top photovoltaic companies (all of them are Asians), and surveillance systems (mainly Chinese companies).
These are the main reasons why the Parliament asks the Member States to "enhance the European open strategic autonomy by addressing disruptions and vulnerabilities of supply chains and ensuring their resilience and by investing in skills and professional qualifications" in areas such as cybersecurity, digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, microprocessors and semiconductors, and batteries. The House of Strasbourg calls ultimately also for a "European rare earth act".
All these steps can be taken only if "unjustified regulatory and non-regulatory barriers and administrative burdens in the single market, including in services" are eliminated. Estimates made by the European Commission shows that further improvements in the single market for industrial products could generate between EUR 183 billion and EUR 269 billion a year, while profits from further integration of services markets could reach EUR 297 billion a year, which alone would increase the economic benefits from 8-9 % to around 12 % of additional GDP
Members of the Parliament point out, in the end, the need for Horizon Europe’s work programmes and the public-private partnerships to take account of the new circumstances resulting from the war in Ukraine, to focus industry-oriented Research and Development on the replacement of fossil fuels and on reducing the reliance of EU industries on energy imports.