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Negotiations about equal footing for European manufacturers

Last update: 27.01.2023 15:00

Bratislava, 27 January 2023 – Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Eduard Heger has joined the common initiative of the seven Ministers of Finance of the Czech Republic, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland and Austria prompting the Vice-President of the European Commission for Economy, Valdis Dombrovskis, to keep a cool head in designing the package of measures the European community is about to adopt to respond to the US green technology promotion programme. Subsidies for green technologies made in North America, including electric cars and their components, were recently introduced through the US Inflation Reduction Act, also known as IRA. 

The Ministers of Finance propose that the European Commission should continue the negotiations with the USA, which are already bearing fruit towards putting European manufacturers on equal footing with the US ones. They also draw attention to the risks of possible subsidisation race between Europe and the USA, or between the Member States of the Union. 

The economy is facing many challenges that put pressure on public finances across the Member States and excessive and inadequately targeted subsidies could further destabilise the European Union's internal market. This would induce a risk of an unhealthy competitive environment, which is non-beneficial to small open economies like the Slovak one. 

The Ministers note that it is desirable to keep in mind the multiple current issues the resolution of which could help to significantly boost the efficiency and competitiveness of the European Union’s economy, including that of our country. They include mainly the reduction of the regulatory burden, acceleration of permission processes, elimination of redundant administrative steps and strengthening of the Capital Markets Union. 

Some countries propose the creation of new types of funds to be financed from the common European budget as a response to the US subsidies. In our opinion, such a step would call for a deeper discussion about the necessity and impacts of such action. First, there is a need to focus on the successful implementation of the existing programmes, including the Recovery and Resilience Plans. 

Our primary goal thus remains to provide targeted assistance to domestic companies that are threatened by the energy crisis and to react to the US subsidies by negotiating equal conditions for our companies that export to the USA. 

Press Department
Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic