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Economy ministers from France, Italy, and Germany discuss enhanced cooperation and raw material supply

France, Italy, and Germany’s economy ministers convened for a trilateral meeting in Meudon near Paris, expressing their commitment to bolstering Europe’s competitiveness and strategic autonomy. Bruno Le Maire, Adolfo Urso, and Robert Habeck emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in achieving targeted economic growth, particularly in green and digital technologies such as renewable energies, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors.

The meeting was driven by the European Council’s strategic agenda for the next five years until 2029, shaped significantly by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministers acknowledged Europe’s need to catch up with other major economies and stressed the necessity of targeted support for EU industrial policy. Key objectives include reducing bureaucracy and fostering both private and public investment. While aiming to counter competition from China and the USA, the ministers expressed differing views on protectionism, with Le Maire advocating for domestic support akin to other nations, while Habeck and Urso emphasized the importance of fair competition and avoiding preferential treatment for “Made in Europe” products in public tenders.

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Additionally, the ministers discussed the need for enhanced cooperation in securing raw materials essential for various technologies. This involves promoting coordinated purchasing, recycling, and circular economy practices, as well as cross-border investment. The impending Critical Raw Materials Act, the EU’s first legislation of its kind, is expected to facilitate these efforts by promoting domestic mining and reducing import dependencies.

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