EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Markus Schreiber/AP)
17 January 2023

EU chief unveils ‘Green Deal Industrial Plan’ to head off US and China challenge

17 January 2023

The European Union has revealed details of a major clean tech industrial plan in a bid to keep the continent in the vanguard of plotting a greener future and ensure its economic survival in the face of challenges from China and the United States.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the outlines for her “Green Deal Industrial Plan” that will make it much easier to push through subsidies for green industries as the EU pursues the goal of being climate neutral by 2050.

“We know that we have a small window to invest in clean tech and innovation to gain leadership before the fossil fuel economy becomes obsolete,” Ms Von der Leyen said.

We have a compelling need to make this net-zero transition without creating new dependencies

She used a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos to say that on top of feeding its own industry, the 27-nation bloc will become much more forceful in countering unfair trading practices, whether they come from Washington, or more importantly, Beijing.

“We see aggressive attempts to attract our industrial capacities away to China and elsewhere,” she said.

The EU is trying to wean itself off an overdependence on Russia energy since the war in Ukraine started almost a year ago but does not want to become as dependent on China for rare earth materials, which are critical to the development of battery storage, hydrogen and wind energy.

“We have a compelling need to make this net-zero transition without creating new dependencies,” Ms Von der Leyen said.

Her speech will become the key driver for debate among the EU’s member nations before their 27 leaders meet for a February 9-10 summit on the issue.

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