Europe needs to develop new battery technology and build a 5G network as part of a Pact for European Jobs, says Manfred Weber (above), chairman of the EPP Group in the European parliament.
Speaking in the European Parliament following the speech by Ursula von der Leyen to open the new session, he called on the EU to give more credibility with concrete projects and actions, including a Digital Act with binding targets for infrastructure and investment.
The EPP is is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States.
The commission has already been working on boosting the battery eco-system in Europe, including supporting the construction of battery gigafactories in Sweden, France and Germany. This has led to the European Investment Bank (EIB) changing the way it supports projects.
“Despite fighting the Covid-19 the battery alliance despite all the restrictions has remained on track and there is strong appetite from all the actors to accelerate the value chain and this is reflected in the growing investment,” said Maros Sefcovic Vice president of the European Commission and responsible for the battery alliance.
“In 2020 to date more than €25bn [has been invested] and I would say this is approximately twice as much as China has invested in the sector,” he said. “Thanks to that we are set to become second to China in the supply of batteries by 2024.
“Next I want to continue our collaboration with the EIB and a new regulatory framework on sustainable batteries as we are working hard on this for the autumn of this year and completed by 2022,” he added.
Skills are a key issue for jobs in this area.
“Over the next couple of years there will be a scarcity of competence,” said Peter Carlson, CEO of startup NorthVolt which is building two battery gigafactories, one in Sweden and one in as a joint venture in Germany with