European Council: time to set EU priorities on industrial growth, jobs and innovation

european council“The European Council must re-shape EU policies into a real industrial policy for growth, jobs and innovation which other EU policies such as energy, climate and trade are part of and conditional on, not vice-versa as is currently the case,” says EUROFER director general Gordon Moffat with view to the European summit this Wednesday.

Industry builds the foundations for manufacturing, innovation and value creation in Europe. This is at risk as a result of the continued financial and economic crisis, structural and regulatory issues specific to the EU, and excessively high energy prices for industrial producers in Europe. Renewable policies, carbon pricing and the structure of the electricity market play a significant role in driving power prices up in Europe. It is high time that the European Council tackles this crucial issue.

The European Council should set a clear objective that substantially decreases the gap of average energy prices for industrial consumers between the EU and its main competitors, namely the US. Climate policies and objectives need to be sector-specific, based on what is technologically feasible and economically viable for each sector, taking account of the developments in the rest of the world. Moffat: “No company will invest in Europe if climate targets are unachievable and energy prices three or four times of the prices in other parts of the world.”

The EU must have a new approach whereby targets set in different policy areas (climate change, energy, competitiveness) are integrated into one industrial growth objective that provides a long-term perspective and legal certainty to industry in Europe.