Mar 24, 2023
Italy Wants Europe to Spend Like the US and China on Green Tech
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union must match its green technology ambitions with adequate funding or it will continue slipping behind the US and China in global competitiveness, a top minister in Giorgia Meloni’s government said.
“We have to put in place the resources for it, like China and the US do,” Adolfo Urso, who serves as Business and Made in Italy Minister in Meloni’s cabinet, said in an interview in Rome on Wednesday. “If we have to compete with our hands and feet tied, we are doomed to decline.”
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The European Commission unveiled a raft of new measures aimed at nurturing green tech and securing raw materials amid efforts to secure supply and value chains. The commission’s proposal is a good start, Urso said, but it lacks the financial firepower of the US’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion of tax breaks for businesses leading the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Urso said Europe should match the US’s “assertive policy” by putting the weight of the state behind green technology investments and to secure crucial raw materials.
He called for the creation of an EU sovereign fund to support the energy transition, in contrast to plans to ease state-aid rules, which would favor larger nations such as Germany and France. These two countries, the EU’s two largest economies, already benefited the most after the commission eased existing rules to help firms grapple with high energy costs.
By its own estimates, the EU is going to need roughly €400 billion ($433 billion) of additional investment in energy infrastructure a year to hit its 2050 net zero targets.
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Urso also praised an EU plan to impose a levy compensating for its own stringer pollution standards, known as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.
“We need that,” he said. “Politically we have called them ‘civilization levies’.”
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