MEPs push for €160 billion ‘made in Europe’ strategic fund

‘Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform’ could strengthen European competitiveness and resilience in strategic sectors and address labour and skills shortages

Up to €160 billion could be channelled as EU funds for crucial technological value chains in the European digital, net-zero, and biotechnologies sectors, as well as to address labour and skill shortages, and support innovation.

The “Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform” (STEP) is being billed as a test-bed for a Sovereignty Fund in the EU’s next multi-annual financial framework, after MEPs called for an interim evaluation of the proposal.

The parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy, and the Budgets committees adopted their position for STEP, as part of an ongoing revision of the long-term EU budget, with a package to be integrated into next year’s annual budget, to be negotiated in November 2023.

“STEP was once foreseen to be the new European Sovereignty Fund – but it is not. With STEP, the Commission is trying to square the circle, but the proposal suffers from three competing goals: producing the necessary technologies to achieve our climate goals, increasing Europe's sovereignty vis-à-vis other regions of the world and strengthening cohesion among EU member states,” said lead MEP for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee Christian Ehler (EPP, DE).

“We have improved the text significantly and created legislative coherence with other dossiers, such as the Net-Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act. We ensured a properly functioning European Innovation Council to continue being the EU´s leading equity investor for strategic investments.”

Ehler said STEP is a starting point to properly support technologies made in Europe and bring about EU strategic autonomy.

MEPs, who supported the legislation by 43 votes to 6 to put it to the vote of the plenary in mid-October, proposed a closer alignment of this regulation with the Net-Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act.

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