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Speech by President von der Leyen on accelerating clean technology innovation and deployment

Speech given recently (02 November 2021) by President von der Leyen on accelerating clean technology innovation and deployment.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fellow leaders,

I welcome and endorse the World Leaders' Summit Statement on the Breakthrough Agenda. And the European Union is proud to support all four breakthroughs on power; road transport; steel; and hydrogen. I am especially glad that on this COP26, finally, we prioritise the importance of innovation. Because it is only through innovation that we are going to get to our goal of net zero. And therefore, scientists and innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, that is whom we have to bring together. They are central for the innovation, they are central to move towards an economy that gives more to the planet than it takes away.

For Europe, the European Green Deal is the driving force behind scaling up innovation. It is the Commission and the Member States' governments that, of course, must provide legal frameworks and funding for cutting-edge technologies, such as direct air captures or zero-emission shipping. And of course, it is the private sector that we have to bring along too, to invest, to scale up the technologies that are already at the horizon, like renewable hydrogen or precision and carbon farming. It is reform and regulation, and investment that we have to bring together, public and private.

But we should not forget the third driving force behind all of this, and these are our citizens, these are our people, who are asking us to deliver, to finally bring together all the things that are necessary, that we move up to a true circular economy. And we know that we all have to transform our way of living, our way of working, as well as our way of producing and consuming. That is only possible through innovation. And only through innovation will we be able to take our people along. Investment on one hand, concrete action on the other hand.

Horizon Europe, the world's largest, publicly funded multinational research and innovation programme is worth EUR 85 billion. Horizon Europe will devote at least 35% of its budget to climate objectives. And to be very concrete, just last month, we launched new Horizon Missions. One is to have 100 climate neutral cities in Europe by 2030. And I am very glad that we see finally the revival of Mission Innovation. Mission Innovation is the striving example of global engagement. All governments pool their investments in clean energy research and innovation. It is over 95% of total government investment that we have finally in Mission Innovation. And it is good that it is back on the scene. We needed this and it is good that we have it now.

In our new global mission on climate neutral smart cities, we will work together with Global Covenant of Mayors. All this, dear friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, is concrete action on the ground. And in this context, I am also very pleased to launch today, together with Bill Gates and the European Investment Bank, the EU-Catalyst Programme. It is worth USD 1 billion. It is a programme that will finance industries, breakthrough innovation to bring the newest climate technologies to the market in Europe. Immediately after this session, Bill and I will launch this new initiative.

Fellow leaders,

Ladies and Gentlemen, my friends,

It is innovation that leads the way. It is what citizens want from us and we will not disappoint them. The global race for net zero is on and there is no better race to win.

Thank you.

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