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,
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.