Council President Michel and Prime Minister of Belgium De Croo discuss open strategic autonomy
On 10 January, the CRM Alliance attended Renew Europe's New Year's event on “the EU's capacity to act: building open strategic autonomy”. The event hosted Council President Charles Michel, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Micheàl Martin, CEO of Solvay llham Kadri and Europe correspondent and columnist for NRC and Foreign Policy Caroline de Gruyter.
President De Croo discussed the EU's chemicals and semiconductors industries, and acknowledged that the EU needs to be more strategic. He warned that EU companies are being contacted by the US, asking them to invest in US companies as they are being subsidised. The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is certainly a hot topic, and a European response is being considered.
Council President Michel stated the enormous challenges the EU is facing, from the environmental shift to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. He argued that the EU's strategic autonomy is built on four pillars: Energy sovereignty, defence, technological sovereignty and international relations.
On energy sovereignty, the Council has been debating further alternatives to Russian gas, and discussions on the prices of electricity and gas, as well as group purchases will become a reality soon. On technological sovereignty, he agreed that the EU must provide an outlook to EU companies on the IRA as soon as possible.
Lastly, on international relations, President Michel said that the EU is facing two principal trade issues. First, a situation caused by the long-standing issue of transparency deficiency, which, according to Michel, was overcome following Brexit. Second, a substantive problem linked to the fact that trade agreements are not able to address all existing problems between the actors, which is why priorities need to be defined in advance.