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EU Green Deal Industrial Plan. The necessary ecological transition

On 1 February 2023, the European Commission announced the 'Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age', where the ecological transition presents itself as the necessary way to justify public funding for the safeguarding of the production chains in the Old Continent (1,2,3).

1) EU Green Deal Industrial Plan

Ursula von der Leyen today announced the Green Deal Industrial Plan to implement and update it European Green Deal (2019) to the current scenario. The European sanctions 'on Russia' have in fact caused a (announced) unprecedented energy crisis affecting all the production chains of the Old Continent. And their competitiveness on international markets has been further compromised by US Inflation Reduction Act.

The EU Green Deal Industrial Plan, in the Brussels design, should be structured as follows.

1.1) Net-Zero Industry Act

Net-Zero Industry Act, a document under definition, should include a series of measures aimed at shortening and simplifying the authorization procedures (one stop shop) relating to technologies essential to achieving climate goals.

carbon sequestration e carbon farming, renewable energies, renewable hydrogen production plants and batteries.

Looking forward to 2030, the Commission also aspires to define strategic objectives and projects for the development of green technology. As well as introducing EU standards to qualify products as 'sustainable' or emission-free'NetZero'.

1.2) State aid and EU funding

Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. The European executive proposes to introduce temporary flexibility, for the three-year period 2023-2025, on the limits state aid. In order to allow the governments of the 27 member countries to support investments in renewable energy and the decarbonisation of industry.

Member States will be able to reallocate EU funding already received through the to this end Recovery Plan (Next Generation US) and not yet used. Equating to €225 billion in loans and €20 billion in grants, out of a total of €800 billion. Brussels will then propose the creation of one European Sovereignty Fund to invest in emerging technologies.

1.3) International trade

international agreements of free trade, in the Brussels programme, must be pursued with particular attention to the objectivesNetZero'. To allow access to essential raw materials (eg minerals, rare metals) and to new export markets.

The season of toxic treaties initiated by Jean-Claude Juncker it seems so destined to renew itself. After the agreements concluded with Mercosur, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand are now looking to Australia.

They announce themselves also new EU rules on foreign subsidies, with the aim of hindering – presumably, with tariffs antidumping and similar measures – the 'unfair trading practices' of some third countries. Again, it is feared, in an anti-Chinese key.

1.4) Critical Raw Materials Act

The Critical Raw Materials Act, in turn awaiting definition, should instead promote the local extraction, transformation and recycling of critical raw materials due to unavailability and relevance in 'green technologies' (eg lithium, silicon).

2) Skills and occupation

Workers in the field green technology, according to the European Commission, increased from 3,2 million to 4,5 million between 2000 and 2019. And the electric battery sector alone is estimated to require 800.000 new jobs by 2025.

Invest EU. 14 industrial partnerships have been activated in various sectors, including the agri-food sector, to improve training and retrain the workforce. Meanwhile, the Commission and EU Member States are working on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

3) Next steps

The proposal under consideration should be discussed at the European Council in March.

Dario Dongo

Footnotes to the story

(1) János Allenbach-Ammann. LEAK: EU Commission plan to counter US green subsidy bill. https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/leak-eu-commission-plan-to-counter-us-green-subsidy-bill/ Euractiv. 31.1.23
(2) European Commission. The Green Deal Industrial Plan: putting Europe's net-zero industry in the lead. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_23_510 Press release 1.2.23
(3) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. A Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age. https://commission.europa.eu/system/files/2023-02/COM_2023_62_2_EN_ACT_A%20Green%20Deal%20Industrial%20Plan%20for%20the%20Net-Zero%20Age.pdf COM (2023) 62 final

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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