Šefčovič calls for building a strategic battery value chain in Europe

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Third ministerial meeting on the European Battery Alliance group photo in the presence of Margrethe Vestager, Maroš Šefčovič, Emilewicz Jadwiga, Claudia Dörr-Voß, Andrew McDowell, Pedro Siza Vieira, Emil Hogberg, Brussels, Belgium 30 April 2019.

EU Commission Vice President hosts third meeting at Ministerial level under the European Battery Alliance


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Hosting the third political meeting at Ministerial level under the European Battery Alliance, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said the participating countries agreed to accelerate work in providing accelerated support for what would be a transnational strategic project across the supply chain of batteries for Europe.

He told a press conference that there are already cross-border large-scale integrated consortia in the making. “We are covering all segments of the EU value chain,” he said.

Šefčovič called for mobilizing the EU’s political forces behind innovative and competitive industrial projects and building a strategic battery value chain in Europe. “Our goal is to see European champions take the lead in the global arena,” he twitted.

Šefčovič hailed the contribution of Sweden, Poland, Germany and Belgium among others to the EU battery alliance.

“I appreciate the country’s contribution to the EU Battery Alliance, as its companies are pioneers and frontrunners in battery cells production and raw materials,” he wrote in a tweet after a meeting with Sweden’s Emil Högberg.

Šefčovič also noted that Poland has been a key contributor to the EU Battery Alliance across the value chain from R&D to recycling – aiming at becoming an EU hub for battery production.

The Vice President also met with Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters, with Šefčovič saying, “Belgium plays a key role in the battery value chain, also thanks to strong globally competitive companies in the area of raw material, chemicals and recycling.”

The objective of the EU Battery Alliance meeting was to bring together the significant support of the Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and invited the Member States to cross-border manufacturing projects along the battery value chain. Participants will, in particular, discuss strategic issues such as sustainable production and processing of raw materials, the use of financial instruments, State aid and Important Projects of Common Interest, matching projects and investors through investment platform and prompting a new approach to industrial policy.

“Our goal is to see European champions take the lead in the global arena,” Šefčovič said ahead of the meeting. “Batteries are a key strategic sector for the future of mobility and decarbonisation of our economy. Moreover, I am convinced that the EU Battery Alliance can serve as a test-bed for our future industrial policy. Today’s meeting is about showcasing what we can achieve jointly with the Member States and the European Investment Bank, to mobilise our political forces behind innovative and competitive industrial value chains,” Šefčovič added.

For her part Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who also attended the meeting, said: “Our State aid rules support innovation and sustainability, which are key challenges also for batteries. We have put in place special State aid rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest to facilitate cooperation between several of the Member States and companies to jointly design and implement risky and ground-breaking research and innovation projects, whilst ensuring that their benefits are shared widely and do not distort the level playing field in Europe.”

She reminded that in December, the EU approved €1.75 billion in State aid, which unlocked significant private funding for an important project in the microelectronics sector. “We are now working closely with the Member States and companies to help make their plans for such projects in the field of batteries a reality,” Vestager added.

Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, as well as the European Investment Bank, took part in the meeting.

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