Speech at the launch of the Friends of the EU Battery Alliance in the European Parliament; Brussels.
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Distinguished Members of Parliament, dear participants,
Or perhaps I should say dear 'friends' – Friends of the EU Battery Alliance,
I am delighted to launch with you this "Group" of likeminded European leaders who recognise the critical importance of batteries for our clean energy mobility, for our economy, for our environment, for our consumers, and not least for our industry.
If we are here together it is because we all recognise the positive disruption of electro mobility in our transport system, and the huge transformation of our energy system into a decarbonised and decentralised economy. That cannot be done without batteries. That means Europe need to produce cheaper, better and greener batteries . That is our only way to remain competitive in the global market.
We cannot linger. We are expecting a huge spike in battery demand over the next 5 years: The European battery market will be worth 250 billion euros annually from 2020. That is as large as the entire Danish economy!
So either we create this market here or we import the batteries from somewhere else. I think we all agree that our own industry should benefit from our market. The European battery market is expected to create 4-5 million new jobs. These can be jobs here in Europe or somewhere else. I think we can all agree we could use these jobs here in Europe!
We have great strengths which we can capitalise and leverage on:
- a growing European battery market (and favourable regulatory and enabling framework),
- a strong research and innovation ecosystem,
- leading companies on battery materials and battery management systems/electronics,
- strong recycling competences
- a strong automotive industry,
- and a highly-skilled workforce.
I am also seeing some positive signals from Europe's car manufactures. Most of them have announced ambitious electrification strategies for their respective post-2022 vehicle line-ups.
And yet, we are suffering from some structural weaknesses:
- excessive time to market (due to permits, financial decisions, etc.),
- low deployment of EU innovations into the market,
- insufficient Intellectual Property Rights protection,
- scattered funding opportunities,
- obstacles to deployment and large-scale industrialisation of innovations,
- lack of certainty regarding the strategic intentions of potential battery cell clients, such as original equipment manufacturers.
We therefore need an EU system integrator and an EU ''system facilitator''. And we need it now. We need to establish a whole value chain in Europe. A value chain focused on green batteries (from security of supply to production processes recyclability and second use), to gain competitiveness and economies of scale.
Time is running. On 11 October I launched the EU Battery Alliance. Last week I organised a meeting with the European Investment Bank and interested Member States – we agreed to step up our work. At the Clean Energy Industrial Forum on Friday the EU industry will bring forward its action plan. The entire value chain has been involved (you can thank EIT / Knowledge and Innovation Community Innoenergy for steering the work). Now we need to close the circle and make sure this House and its members play an active part too.
I am therefore very happy that through you Pavel, the European Parliament is becoming very active. Let me mention some areas of work ahead of us:
As I'm sure you all remember, in the first Mobility Package "Europe on the Move" of last May 2017 we presented not only our initiative for batteries but also the regulatory framework on CO2 emissions for light duty vehicles and an ambitious action plan for roll-out of alternative fuels. In May we will supplement with proposals for heavy duty vehicles. At the end of 2016 we also proposed the clean energy package with some important measures to foster storage, RES penetration and self-consumption. All these go hand in hand. An agreement on these interinstitutional files is our shared priority.
In parallel we should continue to support research, development and manufacturing of the next generation of battery cells and battery packs in the EU. The EIB is starting to use our Innovfin EDP funding to that effect (52 million euros to be announced on Friday). The financing goes beyond Horizon 2020 and Innovfin: smart specialisation (44 Bn can be used with reprogramming from MS) and EFSI "Juncker Plan" should be mobilised, together with upcoming instruments.
This strategic sector will merit all our attention in the discussions on FP9 and the MFF.
Batteries is not only about the industry, it is also about the people. I mentioned the job potential. If we are to equip our workforce with the skills to build at scale, we must step up our efforts at both European (through the skills cooperation blueprint) and national level. Citizens should be proud of what we do in Europe for batteries and how we do it. Green Batteries should become a label that EU citizens are proud to buy. We have some work to with our citizens and MS.
We need to continue working together to make sure that Batteries stays at the forefront of the political agenda, at MS and European level. Even globally, in the dialogue we have with our partners (to promote green batteries standards).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, there is a big room for cooperation on this. I'd like to conclude by thanking you for your interest and support of the "Friends of EUBatteriesAlliance" Group in the European Parliament. I am counting on continued support! Let's continue recharging Europe's economy with the best, greenest, and cheapest batteries in the world – and most importantly "made in Europe"!
I thank you for your attention!