The competitiveness and resilience of the European economy depends on reinforcing investment capacity and diversifying production and supply chains, the Portuguese Minister of State for the Economy and the Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, argued at a meeting of Ministers responsible for Competitiveness (in Internal Market and Industry).
“We need investment and we need to encourage diversification in European production chains for goods that are becoming more and more critical”, said Siza Vieira at a press conference after this informal video conference, which he chaired under the scope of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The Portuguese minister emphasised that the European Union recognises, and wants to remedy, its dependence on third parties for access to raw materials and critical components, such as ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry or electronic semiconductors. This is something the 27 must ensure for “smooth operation of their companies and maintaining the quality of life of their citizens”, Pedro Siza Vieira pointed out, adding that the European Commission is working too to ensure the reinforcement “of our autonomous capability to produce certain critical elements".
Alongside the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, who took part in the forum from Brussels, the Minister of State for the Economy and the Digital Transition also referred to the talks between the Members States on the creation of “a level playing field in our internal market because of the disruptions caused by foreign subsidies or by the non-compliance of goods from third countries with European environmental, safety or social rules”.
On the Digital Compass 2030 strategy, Margrethe Vestager reiterated that this instrument is essential for recovering from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: “Wanting to come out of the pandemic stronger is not just rhetoric; it's something we want to achieve.”
The European Ministers wanted to use this meeting to continue discussions on policy guidance on the European Union's strategic autonomy, one of the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.