EU Council President Charles Michel has given up the call for a quick vote by the heads of state and government to take on new EU debt in response to the US billions in aid for green technologies. In a draft of February 2 for the conclusions of the EU summit at the end of this week, which is available to the FAZ, there is no longer a word on this. Instead, it says: The EU Commission should push ahead with the work “to ensure the full mobilization of the available funds and the existing financial instruments, and thus enable fast and targeted aid”.
The United States has provided 369 billion dollars in the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA) to attract investments in the production of key technologies for the energy transition such as battery cells, solar systems and heat pumps. Since the planned tax breaks are attractive for companies, the EU is in danger of falling behind in competition, warn the Commission and numerous heads of state.
France and Italy, but also influential EU commissioners like Thierry Breton, have spoken out in favor of quickly taking on new EU debt in order to counteract this. Michel sees it similarly and wanted to write it down in the conclusions (FAZ of January 26). However, he himself was criticized by the advocates of debt for this foray into action, which is unusual for a Council President who actually acts more as a mediator.
The result is that Michel is now moving in line with opponents of EU debt such as Germany and taking over the position of the Commission. As an IRA response, it presented a Green Deal industrial plan. It should allow the EU states more generous state aid and use the available funds from the Corona Fund and other funds more flexibly to promote green technologies. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is also said to play a role. The same is true of the conclusions. EU debt is not off the table. Some bosses are likely to challenge them at the summit. The EU Commission will probably come back to this when it presents its proposal for a sovereignty fund in the summer, which is intended to promote “green investments” in the long term.
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