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EU needs to make Green and Industrial Deals go hand in hand – Euractiv

Today, the EU is at a crossroads. It has committed through the Green Deal to fully decarbonise by 2050 and decouple economic growth from resource use yet it needs to uphold its steadfastness for a European Industrial Deal to make industry competitive, sustainable, and resilient, as stated in the recent Antwerp Declaration. So, how do we boost and futureproof EU industry within the Green Deal’s framework? 

Josu Jon Imaz is the Chief Executive Officer of Repsol SA. 

Let me first say that European industry plays an important role in ensuring social welfare. Industry generates stable, well-paid quality jobs. Industry fuels innovation and technology on the continent. A clear industrial project will, therefore, help guarantee opportunities for our youth to have a promising future in line with what their parents had, or even better. 

However, European industry is struggling, and investment is stalling. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, war and rising tensions in the Middle East, Chinese overcapacity and exports, and a US economy boosted by the Inflation Reduction Act, are all external shocks to Europe’s industrial base and its competitiveness. 

On top of this, Europe has not cared for its industry in recent decades. Political and social leaders have been advocating for the end of industrial society and its replacement by a service society, no doubt seeing this as a modernisation process. Many policies have been developed in Europe without correctly assessing their impact on the industrial fabric, which has resulted in the outsourcing and destruction of a considerable part of European industry. The EU failed to reach its objective of industry representing 20% of total GDP by 2020, and Europe has lost 3.5 percentage points of industrial GDP in the last twenty years together with millions of industrial jobs. 

Therefore, making sure the EU remains strong and competitive requires an Open Strategic Autonomy framework, as detailed in the Antwerp Declaration. This means retaining and investing in basic industries. Without a clear plan to support our industries, Europe’s vulnerability to external forces will increase, and autonomy in critical sectors will be jeopardised, including the process of reaching our decarbonisation goals. That’s a risky position to be in, and we must take action. 

Combining decarbonisation and security of energy supply, private and public sectors 

More than 700 industrial companies and almost 300 associations and trade unions have signed the Antwerp Declaration, underscoring the critical need for clarity, predictability, and trust in Europe’s industrial policy, and urging action from Member State governments and the next European Commission and Parliament.  

One of the key calls in this joint declaration is to make Europe a globally competitive energy provider. We must continue to decarbonise without damaging our security of supply and the accessibility of energy for our citizens and businesses. For this, we need a…

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