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Next Generation EU in the making

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen completed her first State of the Union address and presented her vision for Next Generation EU, while in the making.

This is NextGenerationEU and this is our opportunity to make change happen by design commented Ursula von der Layen in her State of the Union speech. While Europe is still dealing with the COVID-19 crisis with the one hand and pursuing its recovery from it with the other, words could not better explain the feeling and need for revival that is shared within the EU.

“We could not agree more with the President in recognising the European industry as the engine that “has long powered our economy, providing a stable living for millions and creating the social hubs around which our communities are built”, commented Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA’s Director General. “The ability of the EU Institutions to mobilise funds for the EU economy, in such a fast and timely way, is unprecedented and gives the feeling of how seriously the EU’s well-being is taken.”

In numbers, the EU Commission authorised 3 trillion euro to support companies and industry and made European funds and State aid rules flexible. Next Generation EU - the recovery instrument to jump-start Europe's recovery over the period 2021-2024 - was set at €750 billion, 37% of which will be spent directly on the European Green Deal objectives. The 2030  target, in view of the 2050 climate-neutrality, is the moving engine of this legislative mandate, and plays a decisive role in starting off on the right foot. For the home appliance sector, the objectives of a climate neutral EU are not only those of  “the world we want to live in, but especially of the one we want to shape”, quoting von der Leyen’s words. Sustainability is already the driving principle of the industry, and will continue to be.

“To us, the targets of a green EU must be built on something we are excelling at, and that is the EU Single Market. This means that everything that is done for a greener Europe must work for the economy and for the people that work in it.” said Paolo Falcioni, making reference to the introduction of an EU Carbon Border Tax that has been promoted heavily in recent months as part of the European Green Deal. The tax, envisioned as a way to level the playing field and tackle “environmentally substandard goods” on European markets, in reality could risk increasing the very carbon leakage it is supposed to be reducing. An example of a greener Europe that would not work for its people and economy. An EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism needs to take market dynamics into account and must therefore be introduced for finished products, to avoid goods produced outside Europe entering under favoured conditions, thus damaging the EU’s competitiveness.

Our common focus should be on first handling the biggest contributors to emissions, such as buildings that generate 40% of our GHG emissions alone. In this sense, the Renovation Wave can drive energy efficiency and deliver on objectives. As a matter of fact, tackling the issue at residential level through demand side flexibility will prove to be  essential to promoting a smart energy community that includes and empowers citizens. Through digitalisation, the EU market will have the tools to enhance the changes we want to see.

This is indeed a remarkable moment for the Union, in which we all are playing our role to not confine it to a moment, but for it to lead us to the EU's biggest achievement: carbon-neutrality.