Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič on the European Battery Alliance

3. March 2023
European Battery Alliance discusses main challenges in the face of increasingly assertive industrial policies globally. Read the Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič on the European Battery Alliance.
“Check against delivery”

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that 2023 is going to be another defining year for the European Battery Alliance, and more generally, for the future of clean tech industries in Europe.

I am therefore glad that today, we had a strategic discussion between the Commission, Member States as well as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We assessed the progress achieved so far, but the main focus was on our way forward.

It was therefore valuable that executive Vice-President Vestager and Commissioner Breton had participated in part of our discussion. We also had Norway at the table, while industrial Members of the Alliance were represented by EIT InnoEnergy.

In 2022, total investment in the EU’s battery ecosystem topped 180 billion euros. We now have over 160 industrial projects in place or in the making, along the entire value chain – amounting to some 70 GWh of installed battery capacity.

So, you can see that with 30 Gigafactories announced across our Member States, we have been moving fast towards our open strategic autonomy in this critical sector which is vital to Europe’s net-zero ambitions.

At the same time, it is clear that if we want to sustain our clean tech leadership, we cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening around us.

First, because of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the price of gas in the EU is almost seven-times higher than, for instance, in the United States.

Second, we see that other economies have also set their sights firmly on boosting the production of batteries, incentivising the battery and raw materials boom – while in some instances, altering the global playing field.

These new realities naturally affect Europe’s competitiveness and remind us that we must stay laser-focused on supporting investment.

As you know, the Commission is tabling a series of proposals to achieve precisely that. And in the context of today’s discussion, I would highlight the Critical Raw Materials Act.

The European Battery Alliance has been turning the spotlight on the risks stemming from our overdependence on critical minerals from third countries, especially China, from the very start. That is why, together with Commissioner Breton, we launched the European Raw Materials Alliance back in 2020.

But I believe that the Critical Raw Materials Act can be a game-changer, by sending a clear political and policy signal.

Among other things, it can help us increase Europe’s sustainable extraction, processing, and recycling capacities. And it can also assist us in streamlining and speeding up permitting procedures for strategic projects.

Based on our experience with the European Battery Alliance, I cannot stress enough that time is of the essence. And we all need to pull in the same direction.

That is why I am glad to stand here with State Secretary Jevrell, representing the Swedish Presidency, and Vice President Östros, representing the European Investment Bank, whose involvement is absolutely crucial.

So, let me finish by appreciating your presence as well as the outstanding overall collaboration of all members under the European Battery Alliance.

Thank you.


Source: https://ec.europa.eu; https://www.euractiv.com

Published by CVTI