Prague, Czechia

governments to finance the full amount of greener investment as compared to a less green alternative - they’ll also come with tighter conditions to preserve competition, and avoid companies getting more aid than they need. Our antitrust rules also have a crucial role to play in helping to make our economy greener. After all, more competition means more pressure on companies to use resources carefully, and to meet the growing demand for greener products. But at the same time, it’s important that those rules don’t discourage companies from cooperating, when that can help to produce more sustainable products. That’s why, in the new guidelines on horizontal agreements between competitors that we will adopt in 2022, we’re planning to give more guidance about how companies can make sure these sustainability agreements are in line with the rules. This green transition will also have to be matched by an equally fundamental digital transformation. And as public authorities, it’s our job to get rid of the obstacles that can stop European industry from grasping these opportunities. Last year, we put forward our vision for making the 2020s Europe’s Digital Decade, which focuses on removing those obstacles – improving skills; bringing advanced infrastructure like 5G to all Europe’s populated areas; securing reliable supplies of vital inputs like chips. And in 2022, those plans should bear fruit. I hope, for example, that the European Parliament and the Council will adopt our proposal for a Policy Programme to turn our goals for the Digital Decade into reality. And we’ll propose a Chips Act, to help guarantee more reliable supplies of semiconductors for European industry – and to develop new markets for advanced European chip technologies. Here too, we’re backing up these decisions with a large amount of support for investment. Here in Czechia, for instance, more than a fifth of the money from the Recovery and Resilience Facility will go towards the digital transition – including nearly 600 million euros to improve digital skills, and another 650 million to help the digital transformation of the economy. We’re also adapting our state aid rules to help governments direct funding where it’s needed to support the transition. Later this year, we plan to put new guidelines in place to help governments invest in bringing high-performance broadband to all Europeans, where the markets alone cannot deliver. This will involve support not just for fixed networks but also, in some cases, for mobile networks such as 5G. We can also help European governments to guarantee a reliable supply of advanced chips for European industry. As we announced last year, we will make it possible to set up new chipmaking facilities that are the first of their kind in the EU – provided that aid is limited to what’s really needed, and doesn’t harm competition.


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