French and German economy ministers are urging EU regulators to allow them to speed up funding for “key industrial sectors” as part of efforts to boost business support after the row over a sweeping US organic subsidy programme.
French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement that they wanted “targeted subsidies and tax breaks” for industry through general state aid programs that would not require long-term control by the European Commission.
The two ministers also plan to travel to Washington in early January with Commission officials to discuss the implications of the US anti-inflation law, French and German officials said at a press briefing.
Their statement is the latest push by France and Germany against EU aid rules they say are too restrictive when it comes to supporting companies hit hard by soaring energy costs. European industry complains that US subsidies were the straw that broke the camel’s back by making European products less competitive against their global competitors.
The declaration by France and Germany calls for the establishment of criteria for the aid that can be approved in advance and for the establishment of “general national support” programmes. Currently, the Commission requires governments to seek permission before providing most aid to companies.
Officials would not say whether they wanted the aid to be paid without a decision from the Commission, saying it was up to the Commission to make proposals.
Last week, the Commission asked governments for their comments on another change to state aid rules, which have already allowed EU member states to spend billions of dollars. euros to help economies affected by the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy prices.
Sir. Le Maire and Mr. Habeck also called on the EU and the US to agree on “mutual recognition of standards and access to subsidy programs” and to discuss it during a meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council in 2023. They also reiterated a call for Washington to open its planned subsidies to European companies.
Giorgia Meloni calls on the EU to find a way to counter the American aid program
The European Union should rethink its state aid rules and increase oversight of key supply chains such as energy and microchips to counter the US’s Cut Inflation Act, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said.
Climate-friendly tax legislation passed by President Joe Biden’s administration is in Europe’s crosshairs as it provides subsidies that give American companies an unfair advantage.