Will the EU's new Green Deal Industrial Plan work?
The EU Commission presented its Green Deal Industrial Plan on Wednesday. The goal is to boost the competitiveness of Europe's industry against that of China and the US. The measures include relaxing the rules on state aid for manufacturers of batteries, wind turbines, solar cells and hydrogen, as well as plans to reallocate unused funds from the Covid recovery budget, accelerate approval for green projects and promote trade agreements.
Unfair and useless
Brussels' measures are helping the wrong people, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises:
“Subsidies are extremely unfair and also generally support industries that are already well-established and have a correspondingly strong lobby. ... The shame threshold for state aid will be lowered significantly as long as focus is on the fight against climate change. Up to now, one advantage of the EU has been that it has put a stop to state influence on the economy. ... The EU should take care of the internal market instead of distorting it with subsidy pots. ... Subsidies create industries that cannot stand on their own two feet and which disappear again when the support is withdrawn.”
New technologies need a boost
The Wiener Zeitung disagrees:
“Europe is under pressure from the US and China in terms of industrial policy. Both political and economic powerhouses are in fierce competition with Europe when it comes to technologies for the future. That is why the EU now wants to accelerate approval for green projects, promote production sites for alternative energies, e-mobility and storage technologies, and push through trade agreements to secure raw materials that are in short supply. ... The era in which industrial policy with subsidies was frowned upon is over. It is undisputed that new technologies need a certain amount of start-up financing. ... Europe is facing the storm of global competition - and it must arm itself.”
Threat of fragmentation
The problem is the relaxation of state aid, La Stampa puts in:
“The strategy of creating a level playing field for European and American companies risks creating inequalities within the bloc between those who have great budgetary leeway and those who have to contend with the limits imposed by high public debt. ... The easing of restrictions on state aid is good news for the German and French governments, which immediately described the plan as a good basis for further action. Rome, on the other hand, warned of the danger of fragmentation.”