TerritoriALL no 9: Green Industrialisation

Some decades ago the words green and industry would never fit into the same sentence of a political text in Europe. But today we live in a totally different environment and as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated during the presentation of the Green Deal Industrial Plan “we have a once in a generation opportunity to show the way with speed, ambition and a sense of purpose to secure the EU's industrial lead in the fast-growing net-zero technology sector

Read TerritoriALL no 9 - Green Industrialisation

In this process Sweden is already a frontrunner, as Peter Kullgren, the Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden underlines in his article, hoping to “inspire the whole EU with good examples of how to use this potential in both rural and urban areas”.

Other member states are also working fast and hard to address these challenges. Daniel Meltzian from the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building of Germany explains the intervention logic of the federal government with short-term assistance measures and medium term incentives and adapted regulatory frameworks.

Yet we will not succeed on climate if we don’t reassure that our most vulnerable communities won’t be left behind, as the Vice President of EIB, Lilyana Pavlova says, noting that “investments made by the bank the last few years may raise EU GDP by 4,7% and create another 3.2 million jobs in Europe”.

Is this enough? Sandra Parthie, member of the EESC compares the “New Green Deal Industrial Plan” with the US “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” and concludes that EU needs “not only money and strategies but better tools to gauge the impact of its actions on the economy and also on society”.

Anders Öberg, President of the Regional Executive Board, Region Norrbotten, explains further those societal challenges with the example of new large-scale wind farms that are a part of the solution, but may impact key stakeholders, such as the indigenous Sámi or the tourism sector.

And Rikard Eriksson, Professor of Economic Geography at the Umeå University, emphasizes that this historic wave of investments expected in northern Sweden is “largely an unknown path for current local and national stakeholders”.

Richard Sjölund, Vice-Chair of the Board, of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, gives a positive cross-border perspective, but adds that to further support green transition “we need better territorial accessibility, clean transportation and better-connected labour markets”.

In addition “a large part of the workforce is in fear of change”, says Bela Galgoczi, Senior Researcher at the ETUI, and asks for Inclusive and comprehensive social, labour market and economic policies are therefore essential to ensuring social justice, resilience and sustainability.

Investment in skills “is important and actions like the Deep Tech Talent Initiative can be utilized to support those efforts”, adds Konstantinos Georgoulias, Director of European Affairs of the EIT Manufacturing.

But how is the industry addressing this new challenge?

Paul Voss, Director General of European Aluminium, says that “aluminium and energy are two sides of the same coin” and warns that “other leading economies are creating initiatives with low-cost energy and high levels of State aid, luring decarbonisation investments away from European companies”

Dries Acke, Policy Director at the SolarPower Europe adds that “a solar manufacturer receives nine times more support than a manufacturer in Europe” and underlines that “EU needs EUR 30 billion of private and public financing” to keep on track of its manufacturing capacity for solar PVs by 2025

Europe can still raise its cleantech game” according to Sofia Kargianni, Policy Officer for Cleantech for Europe, but immediate actions are needed, starting from simplification of access to public funding for independent cleantech innovators. 

The promotion of digital means and usages will entail new, concrete policy measures that will support the achievement of the goals set out in the EU Green Deal agenda, argues Gianluca Misuraca, from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and his co-authors Francesco Molinari and Pierre Rossel.

Interreg Europe and the European Urban Initiative play their important role in empowering cities and regions for the transition to green industry you can read how in the respective articles. Transition like the brownfield regeneration in Slovakia.

Enjoy your reading -and remeber that in ESPON we have dedicated a Thematic Action Plan to Climate Neutral Territories that will soon start producing evidence and results.