Finally make industrial competitiveness a European priority

18.01.2023 9:26

Finally make industrial competitiveness a European priority

Trade, industry, competition, China, India, United States, European Union

Today, the European Parliament’s plenary debates the EU’s strategy to boost industrial competitiveness, trade and quality jobs in order to tackle the challenges related to the US Inflation Reduction Act. The EPP Group has always advocated for a stronger political focus on industrial competitiveness.

Christian Ehler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Industry, Research and Energy, stated: "We are finally really talking about industrial competitiveness. The challenge by the American Inflation Reduction Act shows that the regulatory approach of Timmerman's Green Deal has limitations. Yesterday's announcement of a Green Deal industrial plan shows that the Commission did not have a plan to help our industry through the regulatory transition of Fit for 55. Timmermans now needs to reckon with the failure of his policy so far. The real challenge to European industrial competitiveness is not the US policy, but rather the failure of the Commission in delivering on the deal part of the Green Deal. Now we need to act. We need to act fast and decisively - not against our transatlantic partners, but with them."

Christophe Hansen MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on International Trade, explained: "We need to continue to work with our American partners to mitigate competitive disadvantages and first of all make sure we become more competitive ourselves, for example by diversifying and extending our trade partnerships to secure access for our companies to raw materials. A trade war or a destructive race to the bottom in subsidies, picking winners and losers in the market, between the EU and the US is in no-one’s interest. We cherish our transatlantic ties and are convinced that only open economies will deliver. American markets need to remain open for European products."

Markus Ferber MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on Economic and Monetary Affairs, added: “The Inflation Reduction Act puts the EU in a tough spot. Ideally, we could solve this at the negotiation table, but all options need to be put on the table. EU competition rules do need fine-tuning to make them fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world. However, this cannot mean that we open the floodgates and enter into a debt-financed subsidy race with the US. This would be a battle we can only lose. The bigger problem is a gradual decline in the EU’s competitiveness. In the end, a one-off subsidy is hardly ever the reason for a company to turn its back on the EU. However, it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We really need to look into how to tackle sky-high energy prices, cut red tape and improve the EU’s overall competitiveness. If the Commission was half as committed to working on the competitiveness of European industry as it is on inventing new debt-financed tools, we would be in a better spot.”

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States

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