European Parliament

Promote sustainable industries but avoid unemployment and carbon leakage, say MEPs

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Source: European Parliament

The EU's climate change and renewable energy goals should be seen as a chance for EU industries to become world leaders in sustainable technologies, says an own-initiative report on industrial policy proposed adopted by the European Parliament. Yet, a relocation of European industries to countries with less strict environmental policies should be avoided as well, stress MEPs. The report was adopted with 443 votes in favour, 62 against and 21 abstentions.

'The EU's environmental goals should not be seen as a threat to industry', says the own-initiative report drafted by Romana JORDAN CIZELJ (EPP-ED, SI). Rather the EU's renewable energy and climate change objectives should be regarded 'as an opportunity to gain a first mover advantage and make industry in the EU a world leader in environmentally friendly and socially acceptable technologies, products and services', stress MEPs.
 
Avoid relocation of European industries, unemployment and 'carbon leakage'
 
They underline that the Commission's Action Plan for sustainable industrial policy, which it plans to put forward on 14 May, should facilitate the gradual transition towards a low carbon and energy- and resource-efficient industry (amendment 5). At the same time, the European Parliament stresses that unemployment and 'carbon leakage' should be avoided i.e. the EU's strict climate policy goals should not prompt companies to relocate their production to countries with a less strict climate policy which would lead to increased CO2 emissions by these countries and to higher unemployment in the EU. Thus, MEPs urge the Commission to set up global sectoral agreements which reduce the environmental impact of specific industries worldwide
 
As 'the EU is completely dependent on imports of several metals', MEPs ask the Commission to propose integrated measures on how to guarantee sustainable access to raw materials.
 
Introduce a European patent and combat counterfeiting
 
Moreover, MEPs call for a transparent, simplified intellectual property rights policy 'that is actually enforced'. Hence, the Council should introduce as soon as possible a European patent while the Commission should keep on combating counterfeiting by seeking global solutions in this area.
 
Cut red tape and remove tax obstacles for SMEs
 
The House also calls on the Commission to 'properly apply the so-called 'think small first' principle' in all EU policies. Therefore, MEPs 'strongly support' the Small Business Act which the Commission plans to present on 2 July. This Small Business Act should be a legislative proposal which includes 'new, concrete initiatives' to cut the red tape for SMEs. The proposal should also guarantee that SMEs have access to financial resources and to research infrastructure, say MEPs.
 
The report also stresses that an EU-wide market for venture capital should urgently be established 'by removing existing regulatory and tax obstacles to venture capital investments in Europe's most innovative small firms'.

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