On 1 February 2024, the CEO Alliance gathered its CEOs at the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden for the biannual CEO meeting, hosted on this occasion by Skanska CEO Anders Danielsson. CEOs urge politicians and policymakers to hold the line on the European Green Deal, focusing on implementation and execution of the agreed plans, identifying a clear industrial policy aimed at making Europe globally competitive, reducing red tape and increasing support for digitalisation.

On digitalisation, the CEOs call for the need to support secure and reliable connectivity, innovation and the roll-out of cutting-edge technology – including artificial intelligence, and boosting investments in digital infrastructure and solutions supporting sustainability. We want a strong, innovative and competitive Europe. To achieve this, the legislative environment must be focused on incentivizing the opportunities we are facing, and not as today’s risk limiting approach. Through this, we can create progress and put Europe in the pole position.

The CEOs also exchanged views and provided concrete business examples on these important topics with Ditte Juul Jørgensen, European Commission Director General at the Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), and with Sara Modig, Swedish State Secretary to the Minister for Energy, Business and Industry, Ebba Busch.

Anders Danielsson, CEO of Skanska and meeting host: “Skanska believes that the vision of a more prosperous, sustainable and resilient Europe, with a focus on reduced emissions, will require a collective effort from all EU member states and collaboration between the public sector and industry. The CEO Alliance is a concrete step in that direction. Based on each company’s core business, we are working together to develop models for a more sustainable society.”

The meeting was held at ESS (European Spallation Source), the research facility under construction in Lund, Sweden, with its data management and software centre in Copenhagen, Denmark. The construction of ESS was successfully completed in 2022 by Skanska. At the end of 2027, when the overall construction of the facility will be completed, ESS will be the world’s most powerful accelerator-based neutron source.  Thousands of researchers from academia and industry will use the ESS facility to learn more about materials and biological systems, unlocking discoveries and driving innovative solutions to tackle global challenges, from energy to healthcare and sustainability.

For further information please contact: ceoalliance@kreab.com

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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CEO Alliance 1 February 2024 CEOs meeting press releaseDownload

Dear President von der Leyen,

An intense year for sustainability lawmaking has come to a close. The EU has succeeded in finalising most of the Fit-for-55 package, and is edging closer to a conclusion on the landmark Net Zero Industry Act. Importantly, the year is punctuated by the historic global agreement at COP28 to transition away from fossil fuels and reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Like 2023, the new year begins in a continuing context of global crises and compounding challenges for the EU and for European industry. As we enter a European election year and the last year of the current Commission’s mandate, these pressures will bear their mark on the design of election pledges by political groups and the policy priorities for the incoming Commission mandate. In this context, the CEO Alliance commends the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States for the significant progress made towards addressing the challenges and opportunities discussed in our New Years’ letter from 2023 – not least in terms of new initiatives to strengthen European manufacturing capacity, to streamline permitting procedures, and new ambitions for  electricity grids and renewable energy. The work is by no means done, but we are seeing significant steps in the right direction.

As a cross-sectoral group of leading European companies, our key message for the work that lies ahead for European policymakers is simple: Hold the line on the European Green Deal. We firmly believe that we must continue on the path towards decarbonisation and scaling up of green technologies in order to safeguard the competitiveness, resilience, sovereignty and prosperity of the European Union, as well as fighting climate change. There simply is no alternative to high ambition on climate action.

The focus of the 2024-2029 legislative term should be on the implementation and execution of the European Green Deal, on transition financing, and on facilitating the contribution of the private sector to the green transition. While standardised reporting and increased transparency is welcome, the reporting burden for industry should be addressed – we need less reporting and more action on decarbonisation. At the same time, the incoming term is an opportunity to deliver on the digital part of the twin transition. Digitalisation is a critical enabler for the green transition, and one where the legislative framework is lagging behind.

In a global context marked by conflict and protectionism, the EU’s role as a champion of free trade is more important than ever. As well as safeguarding European competitiveness and resilience through a robust Single Market, we must pursue strengthened global partnerships, especially with our partners across the Atlantic and the rest of the free world.

The members of the CEO Alliance will continue to work together for a green and prosperous Europe through dialogue and through joint investments in and decarbonisation and digitalisation of our products and services, infrastructure and value chains in the year ahead.

We look forward to continuing our dialogue with you over the course of 2024, to support the journey towards an even more prosperous, sustainable, digitalised, and resilient Europe.

On behalf of the CEO Alliance,

Börje Ekholm
Chairman of CEO Alliance
CEO of Ericsson

This letter has been sent to the following recipients:

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President, European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relationships and Foresight
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President, A Europe Fit for the Digital Age
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President, An Economy that Works for People
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy
Wopke Hoekstra, Commissioner for Climate Action
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament
Manfred Weber, Chairman of the EPP Group
Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group
Malik Azmani, President for the interim of the Renew Europe Group
Ryszard Legutko and Nicola Procaccini, Co-Chairmen of the ECR Group
Terry Reintke and Philippe Lamberts, Co-presidents of the Greens/EFA Group

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 10 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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CEO Alliance New Year Letter 2024Download

CEO Alliance Sherpas gathered for the second in-person Sherpa workshop of the year, which took place in Brussels on 28 November 2023.

Member company representatives provided updates on the status of the joint projects, continued the work on policy, exchanged views with external speakers from two of the largest European political parties, and discussed plans and activities of the Alliance for 2024 and beyond.

With a view on the upcoming European elections in 2024, Sherpas had the pleasure to hear from representatives directly involved in the drafting of the political manifestos of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE). The CEO Alliance took this opportunity to reiterate the key message from the letter it sent to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of the 2023 State of the Union, namely to not backtrack on the ambition and on what has been achieved in the European Green Deal.

Regarding policy, the group held a constructive session on the upcoming policy paper on digitalization and the Green Deal, which led to identifying macro areas the paper should cover and policy asks it will include. The work will now continue at Sherpa and subject matter expert level, with a view of finalizing the policy paper in the coming weeks. Sherpas agreed on a set of action points, and look forward to reconvening at the winter CEOs meeting, taking place in Malmö and Copenhagen on 2 February 2024.  

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 12 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming State of the Union address, Christian Levin, CEO Alliance Chairman and CEO of Scania and TRATON GROUP, sent a letter on behalf of the CEO Alliance to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, expressing the CEO Alliance’s continued support for the European Commission’s steadfast commitment to the European Green Deal.

In light of the evolving global landscape, we deem it of utmost importance to uphold the momentum established during this Commission’s mandate. In demonstration of our commitment to assisting the Commission in advancing this agenda, we have jointly compiled the below letter.

Our key message to the Commission on the Green Deal is: hold the line. Do not backtrack on the ambition and on what has been achieved. Focus on implementation and execution. We do not need a new plan, it is time to deliver on this one. 

Europe should lead the green and digital transitions, pushing decarbonisation and sustainability forward, while at the same time safeguarding and boosting European competitiveness. New technologies and innovative companies need a supportive regulatory environment to thrive, and too often we see European companies invent, but other regions scaling, commercialising, and ultimately dominating the global market.

We look forward to continue the fruitful collaboration with EU policymakers and Member States in our efforts to contribute to the development of a genuinely green, digitalized and competitive European Union.

Download the letter below to read all the details.

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 12 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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CEO Alliance Letter on SOTEU 2023Download

The CEO Alliance held its biannual meeting on 12 July 2023 in Södertälje and Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by Scania, bringing together leaders from the Alliance to discuss the green transition and European competitiveness in a changing world.

The event was attended by Christian Levin (CEO of Scania), Leonhard Birnbaum (CEO of E.ON), Erik Ekudden (Chief Technology Officer of Ericsson), Henrik Henriksson (CEO of H2 Green Steel), Agustín Delgado (Iberdrola), Peter Weckesser (Chief Digital Officer of Schneider Electric), and Anders Danielsson (CEO of Skanska). CEO Alliance members exchanged views with European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, and had a discussion over lunch with the Deputy Director-General for EU Affairs at the Swedish Prime Minister’s Office, Jan Olsson. The discussions were moderated by former EU Commissioner and Danish Minister Connie Hedegaard.

Program and agenda
Following a visit to the Scania Demo Centre, comprising test-driving of heavy-duty vehicles and a study-visit to Scania’s engine assembly factory in the morning, the key points on the agenda were:

Key outcomes
CEOs endorsed the CEO Alliance Policy Paper on A Green Industrial Policy for Europe, which was subsequently published on the website and shared with the press and key EU stakeholders.

CEOs also noted that EU policy should be driven by output rather than input, that digitalisation and innovation are key to decarbonisation, and that regulation of Artificial Intelligence must consider the potential benefits of the technology as well as its risks.

The external speakers called for the CEO Alliance to be more outspoken about EU policy, and asked for concrete input from the members on how to shape the EU’s policies in the upcoming legislative cycle.

Finally, CEOs endorsed Ericsson as the next chairman of the CEO Alliance for 2024, and decided the next CEO meeting will be hosted by Skanska in Copenhagen (tbc).

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 12 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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Policy Paper – A Green Industrial Policy for Europe (12 July 2023)Download

CEO Alliance members have today endorsed the policy paper ‘A Green Industrial Policy for Europe’ at a meeting in Södertälje, Sweden, which puts forward five key recommendations for a European Green Industrial Policy.

The Alliance welcomes the proposal for a Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), and commends the European Commission for its efforts to create competitive and resilient European markets for several technologies needed for the net-zero transition. However, the NZIA is not a panacea to all the challenges faced by European industry for the transition to a net-zero future.

With this paper, the CEO Alliance would like to offer our input to key items that need to be addressed to achieve a truly green and modern industrial policy for the EU.

The policy paper puts forward five key recommendations for a European Green Industrial Policy:

  1. Continue building on the momentum for decarbonisation, and improve Europe’s resilience and competitiveness – It is crucial that EU policymakers keep making green targets a priority as we enter a new legislative term. Further policy support is needed to ensure that Green Deal legislation works as intended, not only to accelerate decarbonization, but to ensure that Europe maximizes the use of its domestic renewable energy resources.
  2. Fully mobilise the potential of digitalisation for greening the European economy – Digitalisation presents untapped potential for efficiency and decarbonisation. Further support for digitalisation is needed, e.g. in the Net Zero Industry Act and the Taxonomy.
  3. Accelerate and simplify permitting procedures for a broader range of green technologies and their enablers – Concrete measures to reduce the administrative complexities of permitting procedures across the Union are needed to realise the green transition. The EU and Member States must strive towards a truly harmonised and simplified system for permitting procedures.
  4. Bridge the investment gap for transforming the European economy – A combination of public procurement measures and funding in the form of direct grants, tax credits, loans and financial guarantees are needed to bridge the investment gap for the green transition, at EU, national and local levels.
  5. Support SMEs to achieve value chain emission reduction – High up-front costs of decarbonisation can be difficult to overcome for many SMEs. The Commission and Member States must explore how SMEs can be further supported through the transition.

Download the paper below to read all the details of the policy paper.

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Policy Paper – A Green Industrial Policy for Europe (12 July 2023)Download

CEO Alliance member companies signed the ‘Sustainable Corporate Building Climate Pledge‘, committing to achieving at least carbon neutral corporate buildings by 2030, during a meeting of the CEOs in Rome in December 2022.

The CEO Alliance now calls upon other companies to join the effort.

The role of buildings energy efficiency in reaching net-zero
Energy efficiency in buildings is a critical aspect of the energy transition and the road towards net-zero. Buildings account for 40% of energy consumption. As owners and users of buildings amounting to a total surface of 11,5 million square meters, CEO Alliance members wish to ‘walk the talk’ by signing this pledge.

As part of the pledge, Member companies also commit to raising awareness and setting out roadmaps for the implementation of the pledge.

The pledge constitutes a threshold, with some member companies already endorsing even more ambitious targets.

Sustainable healthy buildings for the future of work and living
The ‘Sustainable Corporate Building Pledge’ is part of the broader CEO Alliance joint project ‘Sustainable healthy buildings for the future of work and living’, in which member companies are developing proofs of concept – the lighthouse projects – showcasing how carbon neutral or carbon negative buildings can be achieved by 2030. The joint project enables sharing of best practices and cooperation on lighthouse projects. As part of the joint project, member companies are also developing roadmaps for key technologies to be deployed in order to achieve the goals of the pledge. As the joint project progresses, the CEO Alliance will be releasing information on the various lighthouses and key technologies roadmaps over the coming months.

The Sherpas of the CEO Alliance had the pleasure to convene at the in-person Sherpa workshop in Brussels on 19 April 2023.

The workshop included sessions on the joint projects, discussions on policy, the overall functioning of the Alliance, and an exchange of views with representatives from the European Commission.

Sherpas had the opportunity to take stock of the progress on several joint projects which were presented throughout the day, identifying policy links and communication opportunities, as well as discussing next steps.

On policy, CEO Alliance Sherpas had an internal discussion on current and upcoming initiatives, followed by a fruitful meeting with Joan Canton, member of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, and two representatives from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The exchange of views focused on the Green Deal Industrial Plan and the Net Zero Industry Act.

Sherpas agreed on a set of key actions to be implemented, and look forward to reconvening at the summer CEOs meeting, taking place in Stockholm and Södertälje on 12 July 2023.

 

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 12 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

The CEO Alliance welcomes the proposal for a Net-Zero Industry Act, and commends the European Commission for its swift efforts to strengthen the European industrial base and to create competitive and resilient European markets for technologies needed for the net-zero transition.

The CEO Alliance was founded in 2020 as a platform of European companies coming together to make decarbonisation happen. Since then, a series of successive regional and global crises has made it clear that climate mitigation measures must go hand-in-hand with efforts to build up the resilience of our societies and economies.

The transition to a greener future depends on key materials and technologies. Recent supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions have underscored the need to strengthen European domestic manufacturing capacity and upstream value chain activities as well as strengthen our economic independence by seeking global partnerships with other countries, to future-proof our economies and to ensure the global competitiveness of European green industries.

As a cross-sector action tank of companies representing key industry sectors, aimed at making decarbonisation of European industry happen, the CEO Alliance stands ready to support EU and Member States’ policymakers in achieving the objectives of the Net-Zero Industry Act proposal and the development of Net-Zero Industry projects.

We offer our expertise and experience in delivering joint cross-industrial projects aimed at making the EU the world’s leading region for prosperity, sustainability and resilience by unlocking investments, fuelling innovations in new technologies and creating future-proof jobs.

We look forward to continuing the dialogue to support the journey towards a more prosperous, digitalised, sustainable, decarbonized and resilient future.

 

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 12 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

Dear Commission President von der Leyen,

As a new year starts, Europe faces a multitude of compounding challenges. The ongoing Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic have created massive challenges to our energy system and for global supply chains, which together have detrimental effects on the European economy. Meanwhile, the challenge of climate change is only growing increasingly urgent.

The CEO Alliance strongly believes that climate mitigation efforts by individual companies and of Europe as a whole can also improve Europe’s resilience against these other, parallel crises. To succeed, strengthened European cooperation is essential. With coordinated and unified European action – aiming especially at the energy sector, infrastructure for renewables, electrification, energy efficiency, digitalisation, and industrial value chains – we believe we can achieve our vision of a more prosperous, sustainable and resilient Europe.

With this letter, the CEO Alliance would like to offer our input on key actions required within the year ahead in key sectors:

Firstly, concerning the energy sector, two high level tasks will be key for the year ahead, addressing the short and longer term respectively:

  • Short-term measures must be taken to address the energy crisis and the challenge of ensuring adequate energy and gas supply for the winter of 2023-2024, while accelerating the transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. Action should be taken to speed up electrification and energy efficiency, and to increase renewable electricity production e.g. through harmonisation of policy frameworks and simplified permitting. We call upon policymakers in the EU and its Member States to continue building on the momentum of the RePowerEU plan in 2023.

  • Complementing and building on these short-term measures, we must work towards the fundamental transformation of the European energy system, including sector coupling. To fully address the climate crisis, the EU and its Member States must build a fossil-free energy system, which will be a cornerstone of European sovereignty, resilience, competitiveness and prosperity. To be successful, the upcoming revision of the EU electricity market design, the development of the hydrogen market and the overall approach to the polluter-pays principle must be built on market principles and strong price signals and be designed to attract and promote private investment in the right direction. Proper carbon pricing will accelerate direct electrification in industrial processes, while an accelerated ramp-up of renewable hydrogen production can enable decarbonization of hard-to-abate industrial processes.

Digitalisation presents uncaptured potential for improving energy efficiency, and should therefore be seen as an indispensable part of the transition to a low-carbon society. Connected devices, edge control and mobile technologies – not least facilitated by 5G networks – are essential enablers of monitoring, visualisation and management of energy production, distribution and consumption. Active energy efficiency technologies are readily available, can be installed without permitting procedures, and provide up to 30% energy savings with quick return on investment (approx. five years).

Second, the transformation of our energy system can only reach its full potential if coupled with an ambitious deployment of corresponding and adequate infrastructure, which would enable direct and indirect electrification of industry and the transport sector:

 
  • To enable rapid electrification of industries and transport, European power grids must be rapidly developed and adapted to the new needs: increased demand, and new load and generation patterns. A key step in this regard would be the development of more agile permitting procedures for electricity grids, similarly to what the EU and its Member States have achieved with regard to deployment of renewable energy generation. Increased flexibility, more interconnectors, distributed generation and demand-side optimisation through digitalisation will be crucial in this new reality; but are still hampered by regulatory barriers. Recent research by smartEN shows that the full activation of flexibility in buildings, electric vehicles, and in industry could generate savings of 37.5 million tonnes (Mt) annually in GHG emissions.
  • For the transport sector, the soon-to-be finalized Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation and subsequent national implementation plans must take the realities of the sector into account and ensure a widespread coverage of megawatt charging stations for heavy-duty road transport across the TEN-T Network so that long-haulage road transport can realistically be electrified in the short term.

Thirdly, on industrial value chains and key technologies, the EU should strengthen both its domestic manufacturing capacity and upstream value chain activities as well as global partnerships with other countries. Achieving the energy transition is crucial for the competitiveness of European industries, but more needs to be done. In this regard, we commend the European Commission for its efforts to create a genuine and circular market for carbon removal technologies and to secure critical raw materials needed for batteries, microchips and photovoltaics. We urge EU and Member States’ policymakers to build on these initiatives to strengthen the European industrial base and to create competitive and resilient European markets for these crucial materials and technologies, not least through the recently announced Net Zero Industry Act and an ambitious EU Industrial Strategy.

The US Inflation Reduction Act will accelerate the needed transformation in the US, but the EU must take action to ensure that investments in Europe will not be adversely affected. In doing so, we strongly recommend to avoid actions that would be considered to go against our US partners. Europe and its likeminded global partners must stand together and provide a level playing field for citizens and companies. Sustainability is key to competitiveness and to Europe’s economic success.

***

Fundamentally, the CEO Alliance recommends that the EU and its Member States take bold and concerted actions to accelerate the transformation of our economy in light of the current challenges. The EU should focus on its strength in a common, unified and market based approach, and should continue to build global partnerships and strengthen free trade.

The CEO Alliance is convinced that the mitigation of the climate crisis, and hence decarbonization of all industries, is possible while preserving and strengthening European prosperity and protecting vulnerable communities. That is why we are working towards this transformation through massive investments in electrification and decarbonization of our products and services, in required infrastructure and in industrial value chains – as individual companies and through our joint projects.

We would highly appreciate to continue the dialogue with you in 2023, to support the journey of Europe towards a more prosperous, digitalised, sustainable, decarbonized and resilient future.

On behalf of the CEO Alliance
Christian Levin
Chairman of CEO Alliance
CEO of Traton Group and Scania Group

 

This letter has been sent to the following recipients:

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Green Deal
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President, A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President, An Economy that Works for People
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament

 

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 13 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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