Statement by Vice-President Šefčovič on the second IPCEI on batteries in the context of the European Battery Alliance

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Tuesday, January 26 2021.

Good afternoon!

Today marks an important milestone for the European Battery Alliance.

As you heard from executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager a short while ago, the Commission has given its green light to a second Important Project of Common European Interest in the field of batteries - technology vital for our transition to climate neutrality.

The figures show what an enormous undertaking this is:

  • It involves 12 Member States from north and south, east and west;
  • Injecting up to 9 billion euros as state aid in support of 46 projects designed by 42 companies;
  • which in turn will generate three times as much, 9 billion euros, in private investment.

I applaud Executive Vice-President Vestager's leadership and now let me highlight why this represents another giant leap forward under the European Battery Alliance.

First, in approving this IPCEI with an unprecedented total value of 12 billion euros, Europe is raising its game in ground-breaking research and innovation:

  • This pan-European project will help revolutionize the battery market by focusing on beyond-state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries as well as on next-generation post-lithium-ion battery technologies.
  • It will also foster new manufacturing processes with higher energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint across the entire value chain.

Second, the project will benefit the European economy through spillover effects beyond the participating Member States and companies:

  • We foresee over 300 partnerships between industrial and scientific actors. This will lead to some 30 pilot lines and help to create more than 18-thousand new jobs across our Member States.

Overall, thanks to our actions under the European Battery Alliance, Europe is cementing its position as a global hotspot for battery investment:

  • The European battery sector is defying the negative trends in our economies and we are well on track towards attaining strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector.
  • By 2025, we should be manufacturing enough battery cells each year to power at least six million electric cars. Remember, just three years ago, the EU battery industry was hardly on the map in global terms.

As you can see, the IPCEI is a powerful instrument that helps public and private actors from different Member States come together to design cross-border projects centred around ambitious innovation, triggering positive spill-over effects across regions and sectors.

Innovation is about taking risks. But as ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously once said: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.”

The resounding success of Europe's battery sector serves as a tangible testimony to that.

Let me therefore conclude by hailing the outstanding collaboration of all actors under the European Battery Alliance, including industry and the Member States - especially Germany, for taking on a coordinating role in this second battery IPCEI.

As to what's next:

  • First, it is vital that our proposed regulatory framework on batteries enjoys smooth sailing in the Parliament and the Council. All industrial players in Europe need a predictable legal environment that supports them in innovating and preparing for the expected surge in e-mobility by 2023.
  • Second, we must enhance reskilling and upskilling so that our battery industry of tomorrow has a labour force to match. According to industrial estimates, some 800-thousand workers will need to be trained by 2025. This expected need in itself proves how far we have come with the European Battery Alliance.

Thank you for your attention!