The European Competitiveness Council under the Spanish presidency approves the Zero Emissions Industry regulation

News - 2023.12.7

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At the Competitiveness, Internal Market and Industry Council in Brussels today, EU industry ministers reached an agreement (general approach) on the Zero Emissions Industry Regulation. The law, which next week will face the dialogue with the European Parliament for its approval, has gone ahead under the Spanish presidency of the EU Council, whose term of office ends on 31 December.

At the press conference following the Council, the Minister for Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, who chaired the meeting, pointed out that "the new Regulation is fundamental for strengthening Europe's strategic autonomy, it sets us on the path towards the goal of reindustrialisation and helps us to advance in the energy transition in order to be at the forefront of climate neutrality". With today's agreement, "we have achieved the objectives we had set out. A broad consensus has been reached on the standard, and this is great news. The Regulation is a fundamental instrument for the challenges that the European Union must face in the near future", said the Industry Minister.

In his speech, Hereu also wished to "thank the Spanish presidency team for the work they have done" over the last few months, and acknowledged "the efforts of all the European states and the Commission to make this agreement possible". It is "a day to congratulate ourselves", the minister concluded.

Priority of the Spanish presidency

The Zero Net Emissions Industry Regulation, which the European Commission presented last March, is a law aimed at strengthening the resilience and competitiveness of net zero emission technologies manufactured in the EU and increasing the security and sustainability of our energy system. This new industrial regulation has been one of the main priorities of the Spanish presidency of the EU Council.

The Zero Emissions Industry Regulation forms part of the European Green Deal Industrial Plan, an ambitious roadmap aimed at improving the competitiveness of Europe's zero net emissions industry and boosting the rapid transition to climate neutrality. The plan rests on four pillars: a simplified regulatory framework, accelerated access to finance, improved skills and open trade for resilient supply chains.

Support for European SMEs

In the framework of the ministerial meeting, the EU-27 industry ministers also discussed the need to help small and medium-sized companies to benefit from this new zero emission regulation when implementing their decarbonisation processes. "Small and medium-sized companies are a very important part of our productive fabric, both national and European, and we must ensure that they can participate in and benefit from green policies," Hereu said.

Forced Labour Regulation

Today's Council also shared the position of the European partners on the new Forced Labour Regulation, which aims to effectively and vigorously fight against labour exploitation and child labour. Minister Hereu has positively assessed the "progress achieved" in this field. "A lot of progress has been made in recent months, and I hope that this momentum will continue in the next six months under the Belgian presidency of the Council", stressed the Industry Minister.

Non official translation