Wiktor Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC Director

Some decades ago the words ‘green’ and ‘industry’ would never fit into the same sentence of a political text in Europe. But today we live in an entirely different environment and as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated during the presentation of the Green Deal Industrial Plan “we have a once in a generation opportunity to show the way with speed, ambition and a sense of purpose to secure the EU's industrial lead in the fast-growing net-zero technology sector”.

In this process Sweden is already a frontrunner, as Peter Kullgren, the Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden underlines in his article, hoping to “inspire the whole EU with good examples of how to use this potential in both rural and urban areas”.

Other member states are also working fast and hard to address these challenges. Daniel Meltzian from the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building of Germany explains the intervention logic of the federal government with short-term assistance measures and medium-term incentives and adapted regulatory frameworks.

Yet, we will not succeed on climate if we don’t reassure that our most vulnerable communities won’t be left behind, as the Vice President of EIB, Lilyana Pavlova says, noting that “investments made by the bank the last few years may raise EU GDP by 4,7% and create another 3.2 million jobs in Europe”. 

Is this enough? Sandra Parthie, member of the EESC compares the “New Green Deal Industrial Plan” with the US “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, and concludes that EU needs “not only money and strategies but better tools to gauge the impact of its actions on the economy and also on society”.

Anders Öberg, President of the Regional Executive Board, Region Norrbotten, explains further those societal challenges with the example of new large-scale wind farms that are a part of the solution, but may impact key stakeholders, such as the indigenous Sámi people or the tourism sector. 

And Rikard Eriksson, Professor of Economic Geography at the Umeå University, emphasises that this historic wave of investments expected in northern Sweden is “largely an unknown path for current local and national stakeholders”.

Richard Sjölund, Vice-Chair of the Board, of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, gives a positive cross-border perspective, but adds that to further support green transition “we need better territorial accessibility, clean transportation and better-connected labour markets”.

In addition, “a large part of the workforce is in fear of change”, says Bela Galgoczi, Senior Researcher at the ETUI, and asks for Inclusive and comprehensive social, labour market and economic policies are therefore essential to ensuring social justice, resilience and sustainability. 

Investment in skills “is important and actions like the Deep Tech Talent Initiative can be utilized to support those efforts”, adds Konstantinos Georgoulias, Director of European Affairs of the EIT Manufacturing.

But how is the industry addressing this new challenge? 
Paul Voss, Director General of European Aluminium, says that “aluminium and energy are two sides of the same coin” and warns that “other leading economies are creating initiatives with low-cost energy and high levels of State aid, luring decarbonisation investments away from European companies”.

Dries Acke, Policy Director at the SolarPower Europe adds that “a solar manufacturer receives nine times more support than a manufacturer in Europe” and underlines that “EU needs EUR 30 billion of private and public financing” to keep on track of its manufacturing capacity for solar PVs by 2025”

“Europe can still raise its cleantech game” according to Sofia Kargianni, Policy Officer for Cleantech for Europe, but immediate actions are needed, starting from simplification of access to public funding for independent cleantech innovators.

Interreg and the European Urban Initiative play their important role in empowering cities and regions for the transition to green industry - you can read how in the respective articles. And in ESPON we have dedicated one Thematic Action Plan to Climate Neutral Territories that will soon start producing evidence and results.

This article appears in Green Industrialisation

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Green Industrialisation
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Wiktor Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC Director
Green industrialisation in focus during the Swedish EU Presidency
Peter Kullgren, Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden
Double down on decarbonisation
Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank
Green industrialisation: how to know if it works
Sandra Parthie, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee
Region Norrbotten: in the periphery of the EU, right in the centre of the green transition
Anders Öberg, President of the Regional Executive Board of the Norrbotten region
The land of the future?
Rikard Eriksson, Professor of Economic Geography, Umeå University
Europe’s deindustrialisation or green reindustrialisation?
Paul Voss, Director General of the European Aluminium
Getting Europe into the global clean tech race
Dries Acke, Policy Director of the SolarPower Europe
Making Europe the home of cleantech innovation: still possible?
Sofia Karagianni, Policy Officer, Cleantech for Europe
Green industrialisation in Germany: chance and challenge
Daniel Meltzian, Head of Division S III 3; Territorial Cohesion Federal Ministry for Housing, Germany
How trade unions see green industrialization
Bela Galgoczi, Senior Researcher ETUI
Twin transition and Green Manufacturing: we MUST shortly arrive to our destination!
Konstantinos Georgoulias, Director of European Affairs and RIS, EIT Manufacturing
Increasing resilience through cross-border cooperation
Richard Sjölund, Vice-President of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission and Vice-Chair of the Board of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia
Transition to green industry with Interreg Europe
Petra Polaskova, Communication Officer, Interreg Europe secretariat
From UIA to EUI, empowering cities to lead the transition to green industries
Tim Caulfield, European Urban Initiative Director
Challenges and opportunities for urban brownfield regeneration
Lucia Pospišová, Head of Urban Development Policy Unit, Ministry of Transport, Slovak Republic Jana Ondrejmišková, Urban Development Policy Unit, Ministry of Transport, Slovak Republic
Transitioning the Twin Transition in the EU: a twin political and social challenge
Gianluca Misuraca, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM),   Francesco Molinari, Independent Researcher and Policy Advisor Pierre Rossel, President at Inspiring Futures
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