Willkommen to the EU’s inexperienced subsidy open bar – EURACTIV.com


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The European Fee has signalled a brief leisure of EU state help guidelines as a part of an upcoming ‘Internet-Zero Business Act’ geared toward bolstering the bloc’s clear tech industries.

The initiative, introduced in Davos final week by Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, comes largely in response to America’s $369 billion Inflation Discount Act (IRA), which was broadly criticised in Europe for inviting EU clean-tech corporations to relocate manufacturing throughout the Atlantic.

However within the European Parliament, many are nervous that Germany, and to a lesser extent France, will find yourself being the only beneficiaries of the upcoming initiative.

The European reply to the IRA have to be “an answer for all” and never simply “for the fortunate few” who can afford to subsidise their trade, mentioned Esther de Lange, a Dutch lawmaker from the centre-right EPP, the biggest political group within the EU meeting.

Her views had been echoed by Polish MEP Bogdan Rzońca from the nationalist ECR group. “How can it’s that we’re in a state of affairs the place Germany provides €200 billion to German corporations?” he requested, referring to Berlin’s €200 billion power disaster aid plan introduced within the Autumn.

In Brussels, the European Fee is very conscious of the dangers concerned.

In her Davos speech, von der Leyen herself warned towards loosening state help guidelines for too lengthy, saying the EU should “keep away from a fragmenting impact on the only market” that may widen financial disparities throughout the EU and the eurozone.

Put extra bluntly; the chance is that German corporations – fattened on the steroids of nationwide subsidies – will purchase a dominant place on the EU’s inside market, to the detriment of smaller companies in different EU international locations, which don’t profit from comparable state largesse.

“Our options shouldn’t solely profit the large international locations of Europe. We want options that truly assure the integrity of the interior market,” insisted Thierry Breton, the EU’s Inside Market Commissioner.

So what can the EU do to forestall this?

Not loads, sadly. The rationale EU state help guidelines had been launched within the first place was exactly to make sure honest competitors within the bloc’s single market and keep away from distortions of competitors between corporations in several EU international locations.

Unleashing nationwide subsidy programmes can be attainable, in fact – however provided that the transfer was counterbalanced by redistribution insurance policies to reallocate wealth creation among the many EU’s 27 member states.

In different phrases, a much bigger EU finances can be wanted, in all probability fuelled by EU taxes.

Von der Leyen alluded to this in her speech, pointing to the creation of a brand new “European Sovereignty Fund” introduced in December final yr, and which will likely be tabled in the summertime as a part of a wider mid-term EU budgetary overview.

However don’t maintain your breath. Indications to this point present that the Sovereignty Fund will likely be nothing greater than a repackaging of present EU funding programmes with no recent cash. Any main change to the EU finances would certainly require unanimity from the EU’s 27 member states, which appears a non-starter given the nationalist governments at the moment in place in Warsaw, Budapest and Rome.

And Germany, the best contributor to the EU finances, has already signalled it wasn’t able to repeat the experiment of the EU’s €800 billion restoration and resilience fund, which made historical past by counting on joint EU borrowing to finance Europe’s restoration from the COVID-19 disaster.

Within the meantime, the large concept that’s prone to survive within the Fee’s ‘Internet-Zero Business Act’ is the momentary leisure of EU state help guidelines.

Within the brief time period, not a lot will change. An emergency easing of EU state help guidelines was already determined in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme was then extended final yr in response to Russia’s conflict towards Ukraine, which inflicted additional disruptions to the EU economic system. That scheme will stay in place till the tip of 2023, at the very least.

The ‘Internet-Zero Business Act’ goals to make the looser state help guidelines extra everlasting and centered on clear applied sciences.

For German trade, this implies the EU’s state help open bar might stay open for a bit longer. Prost!

– Frédéric Simon

ROME. Italy boosts key power ties with Algeria. Italy’s two-day state go to to Algiers resulted in power giants Eni and Sonatrach signing two agreements Monday that purpose to scale back emissions and enhance the power interconnection community linking the 2 international locations. Learn extra.

TIRANA. Albania struggles with heavy rains, snow. Albania has been ravaged by unhealthy climate over the past week, leading to vital flooding and snowfall of as much as a metre within the north resulting in the mobilisation of some army forces to help residents. Learn extra.

ROME. Italy on North Africa mission to seal power provide deal. To spice up its provide of power and make Italy an power hub for Europe, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni went to Algeria, whereas Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani visited Egypt. Learn extra.

HELSINKI. Logging continues in Finland’s Lapland regardless of protests. The Finnish authorities’s logging operations to skinny out forests within the Aalistunturi space continued on Wednesday after environmentalists clashed with police to protest the transfer. Learn extra.

VIENNA. Austria to spend one other €200 million to scale back electrical energy costs. The Austrian authorities desires to scale back the burden of excessive electrical energy costs on households by protecting 80% of community tariffs, whereas authorities look to deal with worth gouging by utility corporations. Learn extra.

PARIS. Electrical energy cuts: ‘the worst is behind us’, says French community supervisor. Dangers of electrical energy cuts at the moment are ‘behind us’, in response to the French electrical energy community supervisor RTE, however not all is again to regular as strikes and a extreme drop in temperatures might have a long-lasting affect on electrical energy manufacturing. Learn extra.

Belgian corporations making ready for rising local weather dangers: survey. Greater than half of all corporations in Belgium (53%) report that excessive climate occasions brought on by local weather change are having an affect on their enterprise, in response to the European Funding Financial institution’s annual funding survey

The survey, carried out amongst 12,000 corporations throughout the EU and 800 US companies, describes the state of the economic system and corporations’ perceptions of the challenges they face. 

It reveals how Belgian corporations fear about local weather change. On the identical time, they’re addressing the difficulty and are extra seemingly than the typical EU agency to have an adaptation technique for bodily dangers (19% vs. 14%) and to have invested in options to keep away from or scale back publicity to bodily dangers (26% vs. 20%). Regardless of having navigated the pandemic higher than anticipated, the excessive prices of power are limiting funding for Belgian companies. 

“We see that the Belgian company sector held its personal via the pandemic and is definitely very superior in the case of digitalisation, which is an effective signal. Alternatively, it’s changing into clear that the local weather is ready to grow to be an ever-bigger situation,” argued EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters, saying that the EIB is totally dedicated to supporting Belgian corporations in financing renewable power, sustainability and power effectivity. You will discover the EIB Funding Survey 2022 right here. (Valentina Romano | EURACTIV.com) 


‘Coalition of Commerce Ministers on Local weather’ launched, with EU participation. “The Coalition of Commerce Ministers on Local weather” has been launched by the European Fee along with EU Member States and different 26 accomplice international locations on Thursday (19 January). 

Devoted to commerce, local weather and sustainable improvement points, the coalition has been created with the purpose of selling world commerce insurance policies that may assist deal with local weather change on the native and world degree by constructing partnerships between commerce and local weather communities. 

The dialogues will see the participation of commerce ministers from totally different areas, who need to promote funding in items, providers and applied sciences for local weather change adaptation and mitigation, and determine methods to assist essentially the most weak international locations. Civil society, enterprise, worldwide organisations and local weather and finance communities can even cooperate. 

The partnership counts so excess of 50 ministers, with Ecuador, the EU, Kenya, and New Zealand as co-leads. Different members embody Angola, Australia, Barbados, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iceland, Gambia, Japan (Overseas Affairs & Commerce), Republic of Korea, Maldives, Mozambique, Norway, Philippines, Rwanda, Zambia, Singapore, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu. Extra info obtainable right here. (Valentina Romano | EURACTIV.com)


Campaigners situation different inexperienced finance taxonomy. The Observatory Towards Greenwashing, a coalition of consultants and environmental organisations, launched on Wednesday (18 January) a brand new science-based taxonomy with standards to information the buyers in the direction of extra sustainable investments.

The choice taxonomy categorises all financial actions utilizing a visitors mild system: inexperienced for sustainable actions, amber for actions that function between considerably dangerous and substantial contribution efficiency ranges, and crimson for dangerous actions. 

It comes in response to the EU’s controversial resolution to incorporate fuel, nuclear and biomass in its personal sustainable finance taxonomy. 

“The EU Taxonomy was initially designed to remove greenwashing however as a substitute has grow to be one other instrument to deceive customers. The science-based Taxonomy desires to succeed the place the unique Taxonomy failed: it is going to create rigorous standards, which monetary establishments can use to correctly assess what’s inexperienced and what’s not,” mentioned a spokesperson for the Observatory Towards Greenwashing. 

The primary model of the taxonomy depends on a preliminary evaluation of the EU Taxonomy by a technical professional group, and a name for certified candidates who need to function members of the professional group can be open. Extra info will be discovered right here. (Valentina Romano | EURACTIV.com)


EU scientific advisory board on local weather change releases first suggestions. The European Scientific Advisory Board on Local weather Change has began the yr by publishing a collection of suggestions for the EU Fee when making ready its EU 2040 local weather goal proposals.

The Advisory Board is an impartial physique established in 2021 which consists of 15 senior scientific consultants and offers the EU with scientific data, experience and recommendation regarding local weather change.

Its suggestions cowl a number of areas, together with the scientific and authorized context, the implications of various pathways when it comes to unintended effects, co-benefits, resilience and feasibility, and the bodily limits to world emissions.  

These preliminary pointers will likely be adopted by extra particular quantitative recommendation throughout the first half of the yr earlier than the Fee finalises its 2040 goal proposal. 

For the upcoming yr, the board can be planning different actions, together with supporting the implementation of legislative recordsdata of the ‘Match for 55’ package deal, exploring choices to reinforce carbon dioxide removals and assessing progress and coverage consistency on local weather adaptation. Extra info obtainable right here. (Valentina Romano | EURACTIV.com)


  • 9-10 FEBRUARY. Particular European Council. 
  • 14 FEBRUARY. Evaluation of the CO2 emission requirements for heavy-duty automobiles. 
  • 27-28 FEBRUARY. Casual assembly of power, transport ministers. 
  • 27 FEBRUARY- 1 MARCH. World Ocean Summit, Lisbon. 


  • MARCH. Revision of EU’s inside electrical energy market guidelines.
  • 2 AND 9 MARCH. Trilogue negotiations: Revision of the Power Effectivity Directive (EED). 
  • 8 MARCH. European vital uncooked supplies act. 
  • 16 MARCH. Surroundings Council.  
  • 22 MARCH. Regulation on substantiating environmental claims. 
  • 22-24 MARCH. UN Water Convention, New York. 
  • 23-24 MARCH. European Council. 
  • 28 MARCH. Power Council. 


  • 18-19 APRIL. Casual assembly of atmosphere ministers. 


  • 17 MAY. Proposal for EU hydrogen financial institution. 
  • 17 MAY. Measures to scale back the discharge of microplastics within the atmosphere.
  • 31 MAY. Sustainable consumption of products – selling restore and reuse (the precise to restore). 


  • 19 JUNE. Power Council. 
  • 20 JUNE. Surroundings Council. 
  • 21 JUNE. Greening freight package deal.
  • 29-30 JUNE. European Council.


  • This fall. Revision of REACH regulation. 
  • 26-27 OCTOBER. European Council.
  • 30 NOVEMBER-12 DECEMBER. UN Local weather Change Convention (COP 28), Dubai. 
  • 14-15 DECEMBER. European Council.

[Edited by Alice Taylor and Frédéric Simon]

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