17 Oct 2023
European Parliament adopts position on Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP)
On 17 October 2023, the European Parliament (EP) adopted its position on the establishment of a 'Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP)' designed to boost critical strategic technologies through financial support, the 'Sovereignty Seal' and 'Sovereignty Portal'.
STEP aims to boost digital, net-zero and biotechnologies and enable the EU's industry to achieve the digital and net-zero transitions. It aims to strengthen various EU programmes and funds and to channel up to €160 billion into new investments, alongside cohesion policy incentives and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The platform will foster the growth of crucial technological value chains in the digital economy, net-zero industries, and biotechnologies, as well as addressing labour and skill shortages, and supporting innovation. In their amendments, MEPs advocate for an extra €3 billion on top of the Commission’s proposed €10 billion, bringing the STEP budget up to €13 billion in new funds.
According to the EP, STEP should also act as a “testbed for a fully-fledged Sovereignty Fund in the next MFF period”. MEPs ask the Commission to conduct an interim evaluation by 2025, including a proposal to amend STEP or a new proposal for a fully-fledged European Sovereignty Fund.
They insist that the STEP, along with long-term EU budget revision, should be agreed as soon as possible, as the package should be integrated into next year’s annual budget to be negotiated in November 2023.
The legislation was adopted with 385 votes to 85, with 151 abstentions. Negotiations with the Member States will start as soon as the Council agrees on a common position.
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