Climate targets vs Industrial policy - can we do both?

NEWS Published

EU EU has committed itself to promote the role of industry and its competitiveness. Which target or targets for energy and climate policy should be set - only one for CO2 emissions or do we also need a renewables target? Do we need targets for competitiveness and security of supply? These and other questions were on the table at a seminar in the European Parliament organised by the Swedish Society for Business and Politics (SPN).

spn 16 9

Jonas Berggren, head of Swedish Enterprise Brussels office, opens the SPN-seminar on "Climate target(s) vs industrial policy - can we do both?".

The global energy landscape is changing rapidly. Energy prices are increasing and the gap between Europe and other regions are increasing. Shale gas has revolutionised the American energy market, with prices now 50 percent lower in the US than in Europe. Germany is phasing out its nuclear power by 2022. 90 percent of all carbon emissions now come from outside the EU.

The European Commission is about to propose a new framework for EU’s climate energy and policy. At the same time as new binding targets are discussed. Which target or targets should be set?

Maria Sunér Fleming, Director for Climate and Energy Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, wanted to combine high ambitions for decarbonisation with a highly competitive energy policy for the future.

– Both the climate challenge and securing competitiveness and growth are urgent matters. There is an energy revolution going on and Europe is losing ground. The costs of energy in Europe are becoming higher than in other regions and according to the IEA, the gap is widening. Cost efficient, affordable and reliable energy is rapidly becoming more important for the competitiveness of European industry. The situation is worrying as the trend today is that investments are moving out of Europe. By letting the concept of carbon leakage cover also the gradually lower re-investment levels and decisions to start new plants in other parts of the world, we would measure an ongoing decrease of competitiveness for the EU as an industrial region, she said.

For Maria Sunér Fleming it was key to keep and develop Europe’s comparative advantages.

– Investment decisions for global companies are based on several factors, such as closeness to markets and suppliers, infrastructure and access to qualified labour, but especially for energy-intensive companies, the price of energy is becoming an increasingly important factor. This must be addressed when the future energy and climate policy is now being formulated. We need competitive costs for energy, cost efficiency, stability of grids and diversification as well as lowered emissions and an effective use of resources. The way forward includes the use of one target, one on CO2, but focus and concrete targets are also needed for competitiveness and security of supply, said Sunér Fleming.

Britta Thomsen, MEP from the S&D Group and shadow rapporteur of the European Parliament’s response to the Energy Roadmap for 2030, agreed that Europe’s main challenges today are energy prices on that rise, the shale gas revolution in the US but also the lack of own energy sources, which were all having an impact on the competitiveness of European industry. Despite this, she saw a need for more binding and tighter targets.

– Without binding climate targets there will never be any commitment and hence, no progress. Such targets could also serve to create a stable framework, which would be conducive for investment decisions. The new 2030 framework for climate and energy policies should include three separate targets. Energy efficiency should be improved by 40 percent, energy from renewable energy sources should make up for 35 percent of the total and CO2 emissions should be reduced by 95 percent by until 2050, said Britta Thomsen.

Tom Howes, deputy head of unit in DG Energy of the European Commission said that more attention has to be given to competitiveness aspects, especially now after the crisis, but questioned how the rising energy costs could be tackled.

– Since many elements of the energy price were external and difficult to alter, ultimately we have to ask ourselves which kind of industrial structure we want to have, he said.

He also elaborated on the upcoming communication from the European Commission, to be presented in January 2014, and on the need for new targets.

– The initiative will frame energy and climate policies for the period up to 2030. It will provide a long-term perspective for investments, a more sustainable, secure and competitive EU energy system and ensure that the EU stays on track to meet the climate and energy objectives. What we need is a more European approach than before. The Single Market has gained in importance since 2007. We also need to give more attention to competitiveness. It is too early to reveal if the commission will propose one, two or three new targets, but as far as the theme of this seminar is concerned - if we can do both climate targets and industrial policy - the answer is yes, we have to, Howes concluded.

The seminar was held in the European Parliament. It gathered around 60 participants from the European institutions, business organisations, individual companies and other stakeholders. It was moderated by Jonas Berggren, head of the Brussels Office of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.


NEWS Published:

The entrepreneurial perspective is being neglected in the EU digitalisation process

The digital single market is a hot topic in the EU right now. Sweden has plenty of confidence when it comes to digitalisation, which does by its nature transcends all borders. The government’s overall goal is for Sweden to be best in the world at using the opportunities offered by digitalisation. But unfortunately the entrepreneurial perspective usually comes second when the European countries attempts to create a digital inner market.
NEWS Published:

American tariffs hurt Swedish and European industry

"President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is very unfortunate. It will hurt Swedish industry both directly and indirectly", says Carola Lemne, Director General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

The EU-commission wants to go big on AI

AI  The US and China are way ahead of Europe regarding development of autonomous computer systems. That disadvantage must change if European business and industry is to retain its competitive edge into the future, writes Olof Erixon, Senior legal counsel.
NEWS Published:

EU – the clearest voice for free trade

In the beginning of May, the Free Market Road Show (FMRS) took place in Stockholm. Jens Hedström, Head of Brussels Office, International Director, Swedish Enterprise, was one of the panellists together with PJ Anders Linder, CEO Axess Foundation, the British economist Richard Teather among others.
NEWS Published:

Sweden should oppose the digital tax proposals

TAXES The Swedish Government should oppose the controversial digital tax proposals from the EU Commission and work with the OECD to find an internationally acceptable solution.
NEWS Published:

Controversial EU tax proposal on digital services causes concern for small exporting economies

TAX The Director Generals for the Swedish, Danish and Finnish business federations have, in a joint letter addressed to the Finance Ministers of their respective countries, expressed their concern for the EU Commissions digital tax plan.
NEWS Published:

Protectionism only produces losers

The impact of globalisation has been positive for most of the world’s population. However, the economic integration of economies also accelerates change which puts increasing pressure on societies to be able to adapt to such change. We need to stand up for the clear advantages of globalisation, while making sure our societies have the flexibility necessary to adapt to rapid changes in technology and labor markets. These were the main conclusion at a seminar about free trade and globalization in times of protectionism, organized by The Society for Business and Politics in the European Parliament.
NEWS Published:

Let’s talk about the losers of protectionism

European politicians have a big role to play in communicating why globalisation matters. We need politicians that are brave enough to talk about the losers of protectionism, not just the losers of globalisation, writes Carola Lemne.
NEWS Published:

The European Commission: Swedish companies best at innovation

Within the framework for the European Commission’s EU Industry Day February 22-23 in Brussels, Teknikföretagen and RISE was chosen to present how Swedish enterprise and academy cooperate around invention under the headline TESTBED Europe, accelerating innovation and strengthening eco-systems. The seminar proved to be one of the events most popular, and gathered experts from all over Europe. The participants all agreed that Sweden is the leading example of innovation, but why?
NEWS Published:

OECDs ambassadors meeting – act for growth and prosperity

January 19th marked the date for BIACs annual meeting with the ambassadors of OECD. This year’s theme was ”Business priorities for OECD action: a call for growth and prosperity” and tackled subjects like entrepreneurship, multilateral framework for trade, tax and investments, creating opportunities for business to create the jobs of the future and developing high quality regulation that strengthens businesses competitiveness. 
NEWS Published:

Trilogue negotiations – striking the right balance between transparency and efficiency

A trilogue is just what it sounds like – a dialogue between three parties. In a European context the three parties in question are the European parliament, the European Commission and the Council. There are advantages to these trilogues; it’s a quicker decision process which can be used ad hoc with the three most important parties present. But the opposition is growing against the increased frequency, particularly because of lack of transparency that trilogues entail.
NEWS Published:

Entrepreneurship crucial for successful companies in Europe

We need a holistic perspective to be able to create a better European ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Innovation is not enough, the products must be commercialised and reach the market if companies are to be able tocreate growth.
NEWS Published:

A framework for free flow of non-personal data in the European Union

COMMENT The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise welcomes this regulation with its aim to ensure the free data flow within the European Union. Europe can no longer afford to keep the Digital Single Market held back by protectionism and fragmentation, says Göran Norén, Head of Department, Industrial Affairs, and Carolina Brånby, Digital Policy expert.
NEWS Published:

Nordic labour market models and the Social Pillar – complementary or colliding?

SOCIAL PILLAR The Nordic employer organizations organised a seminar in Brussels where invited representatives from the EU institutions, industry and trade union discussed their views on the Social Pillar taking into account the Nordic labour market models.
NEWS Published:

Connected consumers: risk or opportunity?

New technology and data-driven innovation create new business models and services that enable companies to help their customers by adjusting their products and become more relevant. At the same time, access to and analysis of data challenges the personal integrity and the view of how integrity should best be safeguarded. How shall development of new services and personalisation be balanced with demands of personal integrity? Do consumers have access to relevant information? And who is responsible for what?
NEWS Published:

Business and politics hand in hand to solve environmental challenges

The world and humanity are facing some of our greatest challenges. More people are using more natural resources. Fish stocks are running the risk of extinction, freshwater resources are far from adequate, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing and biodiversity is becoming depleted. Never before has a creature been able to affect our planet to the extent humanity does today.All of this constitutes major challenges - but there is hope for our future. And many solutions can be found within the business community.
NEWS Published:

The recipe for a competitive EU

The success of the EU’s can be measured largely in the level of exchange in goods, services, people, and capital. The complete implementation of the Single Market is key. Much remains to be done in many areas, such as the free movement of services and labour, eliminating restrictive national processes, regulations and standards, and ensuring that common legislation is applied uniformly and consistently. As long as barriers to the four freedoms remain, European competitiveness will continue to be held back.
NEWS Published:

Trump cannot kill climate hope

As the USA now plans to exit the Paris Climate agreement, the EU and Sweden can have the greatest impact by demonstrating that combining competitiveness and high levels of prosperity with continuing to reduce climate emissions is possible. The entrepreneurial sector will drive climate issues forward, more than policy makers. Technical innovation is advancing quickly in many fields, reducing costs for new technology. Even US President Donald Trump cannot change these facts despite his misguided passion for coal, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Do we need a more social Europe?

Is a “Social Europe” the right medicine to stop growing populism? Can new social rights and social legislation foster growth and jobs? Is the fight against social dumping in fact a pretext for protecting domestic workers? What is the role of the EU and the Member States?
NEWS Published:

Trust in the European Union at a crossroads – Europaperspektiv 2017

Swedish universities have since 1998 cooperated in national networks within political science, economics and law. The purpose is to enhance the interest and knowledge in the European Union. Each year a book is published to disseminate knowledge to a broader audience. The book is divided into three main areas, political science, economics and law and each year grasps a specific topic. The topic of the year is trust, which incorporates trust both between member states but also between citizens and institutions.