BY BRUNO LE MAIRE, Minister of the Economy, Finance and industrial and digital Sovereignty of France,
AND ROBERT HABECK, vice-chancellor, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate action of Germany
“We call for a renewed impetus in European industrial policy”
Facing unprecedented surging energy prices and the return of war on the European soil, we as French and German ministers of Economy are firmly determined to work jointly on providing adequate response to the most vulnerable economic sectors. We commit to coordinating and aligning our support to companies most hit by the energy crisis, within the framework set by the European Commission in order to prevent any breach to a fair level playing field within the internal market.
Leveraging our buying power as the European Union is key to bring prices down. We are thus determined to swiftly implement joint purchases of gas through long term contracts to achieve lower prices for consumers and industry. We welcome a discussion for a structural reform of the electricity market based on a thorough impact assessment. We will make sure that solidarity and interconnections are functional, including through the BarMar project.
In this challenging context, the EU should bolster its energy and industrial strategic sovereignty. We launch today new franco-german cooperations on key strategic sectors. First, on hydrogen: we are both leaders in this area that is instrumental to decarbonise our industries, and we decided to set up a working group to accelerate our cooperation. Second: we agree to extend the scope of the IPCEI batteries in accordance with the IPCEI Communication, and look into opportunities of health projects.
Looking ahead, we also commit to establish key strategic areas for technological and scientific aspects of EU sovereignty. We will build together on artificial intelligence as well as on quantum computing, through two high level working groups. Securing our procurement of raw materials is also a great matter of concern which we shall tackle together.
We are committed to a common strategy to ensure a free and secure flow, access and use of data as well as trust in cloud services. Therefore we support the adoption of trusted, comprehensive, robust and transparent cyber security certification schemes that will meet European data protection standards.
We reaffirm our resolute commitment to a common space policy. We are committed to the finalisation of Ariane 6 that guarantees our independent and autonomous access to space, as well as to promote the European preference for institutional launches. We also welcome the European mini-launchers that will foster innovation and cost-efficiency for the future of the European launcher family and that should have the possibility to compete for institutional launches.
We reaffirm our determination to pursue and engage in an ambitious, competitiveness-seeking future-oriented European industrial policy which aims at boosting European strategic sovereignty. We call on the Commission to optimise and accelerate the notification process of IPCEI in alignment with various proposals for good practices. We also challenge the Commission to ensure that the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism matches our strong climate change commitments.
We call for an EU industrial policy that enables our companies to thrive in the global competition especially through technological leadership. We want to coordinate closely a European approach to challenges such as the United States Inflation Reduction Act. We will explore industrial policy possibilities to prevent downside effects of protectionist measures by third countries and will ensure that WTO rules are respected by all. Therefore we will build a European platform of transformation technologies.
We are confident that Germany and France have a key role to play in this unprecedented context, to fight inflation, bring energy prices down and foster competitiveness within the EU. Today marks the first step of a new Franco-German commitment line to advocate and advance a European industrial policy.