The focus in the STEP-initiative needs to be in excellence, impact, and competitiveness
The European Parliament’s leading committees for industry (ITRE) and budget (BUDG) adopted on the 9th of October their position on the proposal for establishing the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP). MEPs ask for an additional EUR 3 billion investment from Member States, bringing the STEP budget to 13 billion euro in new funds. MEPs also ask to restrict STEP beneficiaries to EU developing regions in line with the Commission proposal, but against the rapporteurs’ opinion.
The STEP proposal suffers from three partly competing goals: increasing the EU’s autonomy in strategic technologies by strengthening their production capacity already in the short run in Europe, increasing Europe's and European industry’s competitiveness and leadership vis-à-vis other regions of the world, and strengthening cohesion among EU member states.
TIF is confident that sustainability in its different dimensions, improved resilience and global leadership can be achieved only by investing in EU’s and European industry’s competitiveness and R&I. Therefore, excellence and expected impact should be the key criteria used in the design and evaluation of the STEP initiatives. STEP-instrument needs to be designed in the way that it supports European and cross-border investments and sharing and scaling best solutions across regions and Europe.
There should be no room in the STEP to further increase cohesion funding or include a cohesion element in European programs such as Horizon Europe or Innovation Fund. The EU’s cohesion policy already accounts for about 30 % (€ 372,6 billion) of the current MFF 2021-2027. We encourage the Member States and the EU institutions to consider pooling part of the existing cohesion funds for STEP initiatives and select them through open competitive calls at a European or European macro-region level.
Mervi Karikorpi, +358 40 741 9801
Jussi Mäkinen, +358 30 900 3066