Von der Leyen insists on European industrial fund to cope with US aid plan

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01 December 2022, Ireland, Dublin: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a joint session of the Dail and the Seanad to mark Ireland’s 50 years of membership of the EU, at Leinster House. Photo: Maxwell Photography/PA Media/dpa – Maxwell Photography/PA Media/dpa

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisted on Wednesday on the idea of creating a European industrial fund to deal with the anti-inflation law adopted by the United States, which provides for millions in aid to the U.S. automobile sector and which Europe considers discriminatory for its companies.

In a speech at the Bocconi University in Italy, Von der Leyen stressed that the American plan could «create distortions» by favoring American companies and based on the logic of «buying American products». He said that the program proposes tax exemptions and production subsidies that could discriminate against European companies.

Against this, the head of the Community Executive pointed out that Europe will need «structural solutions» for its industry in the medium term, stressing that the objective is for European industry to be a leader in the clean transition. «That’s why I introduced the idea of establishing a sovereign fund. The underlying logic is simple: a common European industrial policy requires common European funding,» he said.

Likewise, he has advocated adjusting European state aid rules to «make them simpler» and make public investments have an impact on the digital and energy transition, following the proposals launched in a speech last Sunday at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Along these lines, the EU president called for a «fresh look» at European state aid frameworks with the idea of making them more «predictable and simple», thinking about how to support the value chain, right down to the mass production of green technology solutions. «There is a lot of strategic work to be done,» he has argued.

In any case, the German conservative has defended the dialogue with Washington to address the «most worrying» aspects of US law, with a task force already in place for this purpose, while the EU and the United States join efforts to address the «common challenges» presented by China.

Von der Leyen has thus called for joining forces in the green technology sector to overcome the existing dependence in this sector on Beijing. «One of the possible solutions could be to create a raw materials club to overcome China’s monopoly in this field,» suggested the leader of the Community Executive.

«We have a lot of work ahead of us. But one thing is certain: we are stronger individually when we stand united collectively», she summed up.