Europe Is Looking for Ways to Counter the New US Climate Law

Source: By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, December 5, 2022

Commission head sees need to work with US on IRA’s impact EU, US should cooperate on clean economy, von der Leyen says

The European Union should improve its state aid rules and consider more green-transition funding to offset possible distortions from the new US climate and tax law, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Her remarks came a day before the US-EU Trade and Technology Council ministerial meeting to be held at the University of Maryland, where the law is likely to be a hot topic.

The legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, passed this summer and has become a point of contention in Europe, with complaints that Washington is attempting to lure business investment away from the bloc with massive subsidies.

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“We need to do our homework in Europe and at the same time work with the US to mitigate competitive disadvantages,” von der Leyen said in a speech at the College of Europe in Brugge, Belgium.

“The IRA can lead to unfair competition, could close markets, and fragment the very same critical supply chains that have already been tested by Covid,” she said.

The 27-nation EU should respond by improving its state aid framework to facilitate public investment, re-assessing the need for further funding of the shift to green technologies, and working with the US to address some of the most concerning aspects of its law, von der Leyen said.

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The EU commission chief said that Europe and the US should cooperate to advance the green transition — for example, by agreeing on common standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure or on critical raw materials for clean technologies, whose production and processing is controlled by China.

“Europe and the US can build an alternative to this monopoly by establishing a critical raw materials club,” von der Leyen said. “The idea behind it is simple: cooperation with partners and allies on sourcing, on production and on the processing gives us the ability to overcome the monopoly.”

(Updates with von der Leyen’s remarks on cooperation from the 8th paragraph.)