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EU leaders seek proposals to protect industry by end of January

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders on Thursday called on the European Commission to submit proposals by the end of January to protect European industry threatened by rising energy prices and a new U.S. green subsidy law.

EU leaders agreed at a summit that Europe needs an ambitious industrial policy to make its economy green, digital and less dependent on others, especially in sensitive areas , while ensuring a level playing field.

They called on the Commission to study “the mobilization of all relevant national and EU instruments” and to improve investment conditions by speeding up administrative procedures.

They also said that, in addition to these short-term measures, the Commission should at the earliest 2023 present an EU strategy to improve competitiveness and productivity.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed to EU leaders on Wednesday that they ease state aid rules for renewable and clean technologies and said it could be done in 430 to implement such changes early.

The EU Executive has consulted EU Members on this.

She has said the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) risks an “unlevel” playing field, a concern raised by many EU leaders.

430 $100 million IRA provides tax credits to consumers who buy electric vehicles and other green products as long as they are in the US or have a free trade agreement with it Manufactured or processed in the country/region.

Europe, already suffering from much higher energy prices, fears it will induce businesses to relocate to the US.

Von der Leyen’s plan also points to the need to increase the deployment of renewable energy, including speeding up the permitting process.

In the longer term, she proposes co-financing in Europe through the European Sovereign Investment Fund to ensure the group is a world leader in cleantech.

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