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S&Ds look at making EU industry fit for the digital and ecological age, while EPP yet again blocks progress


16 Feb 2023


Sustainable Dev.

Today, the European Parliament backed a resolution spearheaded by the S&D Group, which is designed to make the EU industry fit for a green and socially just future.

For our Group, it is paramount to have our industry prepared for the Green Deal objectives and to put it on a path towards climate neutrality by 2050. Our industry also needs to seize all the opportunities offered by the ongoing digital transition. This is key to allowing the EU industry to lead the way internationally, to ensure our strategic autonomy, and to create quality jobs for all Europeans.

Unlike the Commission proposal, we have insisted in our resolution to ensure the strengthening of the industry comes together with a betterment of social conditions, including upskilling and reskilling. Particularly in these times of social crisis, it is crucial to improve the rights of workers and ensure they can benefit from safety nets and social protection.

The vast majority of EPP MEPs, however, voted against the resolution. They rejected in majority the regulation on the transition to zero-emissions cars and vans by 2035 earlier this week. Now they want to prevent not only the car industry but also all industries from moving forward.

Alex Agius Saliba, S&D Group vice-president for a strong digital Europe, said:

“It is of paramount importance to speed up the transition to a green economy while keeping high-quality jobs in Europe. We expect more from Europe, when it comes to working families, equality, and environmental justice. Quality jobs with fair working conditions and good pay, bargaining with trade unions and respect for collective agreements, avoiding redundancies, and deterioration of working conditions have to be part of the strong social dimension in the Green Deal Industrial Plan.  

“It is a pity that the EPP was divided even on protecting these fundamental principles. They were divided on protecting our industries, our workers and our environmental sustainability.”

S&D Group vice-president responsible for the Green Deal, Mohammed Chahim, said:

“To ensure the competitiveness of our EU industry, they need to decarbonise as soon as possible, in line with our European Green Deal. Decarbonisation and competitiveness go hand in hand. 

“The EPP reiterates its backward-looking stance on the Green Deal. After voting against the transition to zero-emissions cars, they think EU industry can be competitive relying on unconditional subsidies and fossil fuels. You cannot build competitiveness on subsidies. It is time now for the Commission to use this resolution and come up with a Green Deal Industrial Plan that will accelerate the green transition and thus strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of EU industry.”