Statement by Executive Vice President Vestager on approval of €2.9 billion public support by twelve Member States for a second pan-European research and innovation project along the entire battery value chain
Statement given yesterday by Executive Vice President Vestager on approval of €2.9 billion public support by twelve Member States for a second pan-European research and innovation project along the entire battery value chain.
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Today, the European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules up to 2.9 billion euros of public investments in an important project for batteries.
12 Member States – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden – will join forces to support research and innovation in this strategic value chain. The project, called the “European Battery Innovation” project, will cover the whole batteries ecosystem from extraction of raw materials, design and manufacturing of battery cells and packs, and finally the recycling and disposal in a circular economy.
The public support will unlock an additional 9 billion euros of private investments. This brings the total investments in the project to almost 12 billion euros. So, the industry's investments more than triple the size of the public money.
We will not recover from this crisis by rebuilding the world, as we knew it before the pandemic. We now have the historic chance to build a greener, more digital and resilient Europe. To tackle climate change, we have to transform how we power our world, how we heat our homes – and how we travel and move between places.
Electric vehicles will play a key role in this. They're increasingly present on our roads, and sales have continued to rise even during the corona crisis. Innovative batteries are one of the key factors for the success of electric cars. They can make up about a third of the total price and determine how far cars can travel.
Beyond the automotive sector, battery technologies play a crucial role, for example to better store renewable energy. So, we can tap into stored energy when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.
All these efforts will only really pay off for the environment, if we improve the production and recycling processes of batteries.
State aid rules offer Member States many possibilities to support the necessary research and innovation. In recent years, those have enabled more than 10 billion euros per year in public support.
But for those massive innovation challenges for the European economy, the risks can be too big for just one Member State or one company to take alone. So, it makes good sense for European governments to come together to support industry in developing more innovative and sustainable batteries. Especially when the resulting innovation can benefit the entire European economy.
That's why we have put special State aid rules in place to smooth the way. So, Member States can pool their resources and cooperate in an important project of common European interest.
Today's decision follows the Commission's approval in December 2019 of a first batteries project, with seven Member States participating. That project is currently being implemented.
This time, Germany took the lead in coordinating an even larger group of Member States and industry players to deliver the project which we are approving today. It is expected to lead to new technological breakthroughs and innovations in the battery value chain.
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