Davos forum: EU unveils clean tech plan amid competition from US and China

The European Union pushed forward on Tuesday with a major clean tech industrial plan which not only should keep the continent in the vanguard of plotting a greener future but also guarantee its economic survival as it faces challenges from China and the United States.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the outlines for her “Green Deal Industrial Plan” that will make it much easier to push through subsidies for green industries and pool EU-wide projects that are boosted with major funding as the EU pursues the goal of being climate neutral by 2050.

“We know that we have a small window to invest in clean tech and innovation to gain leadership before the fossil fuel economy becomes obsolete,” von der Leyen said.

Von der Leyen used a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos to say that on top of feeding its own industry, the 27-nation bloc will become much more forceful in countering unfair trading practices, if they come from Washington, or more importantly, Beijing.

“We see aggressive attempts to attract our industrial capacities away to China and elsewhere,” she said.

And as it is trying to wean itself of an overdependence on Russia energy since the war in Ukraine started almost a year ago, the EU doesn't want to become as dependent on China for rare earth materials, which are critical to the development of battery storage, hydrogen and wind energy.

“We have a compelling need to make this net-zero transition without creating new dependencies,” von der Leyen said.


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