Italy urges EU to push back against US – media
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called for the European Union to become more economically independent in the wake of a new US law that puts the bloc’s manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Speaking at her year-end press briefing in Rome, Meloni urged the EU to build its own supply chains for key industries in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a $360 billion spending bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in August, according to the media outlet. The bloc also must revise its rules on state aid to manufacturers and strengthen oversight of supply chains for such industries as computer chips, carmakers and alternative energy, Meloni reportedly said.
The US legislation provided for a spending binge on alternative energy infrastructure, including tax breaks for manufacturers in the sector. It weighted subsidies for electric vehicles to domestically produced models and batteries. EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have criticized the law, warning that it may “fragment the West.”
Meloni has argued that the IRA discriminates against European companies. Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti warned earlier this month that some companies are already considering moving factories to the US, which would be “a disaster.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested this month that the EU should respond to the IRA by providing funding to companies in need and giving member states more latitude to invest in their own manufacturers. The controversy comes at a time when European economies are already being undermined by energy shortages and other effects of US-led sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
Commenting on the matter earlier in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “today, the EU’s main partner, the US, is pursuing policies leading directly to the de-industrialization of Europe.”
Meloni told reporters that she will seek a meeting with representatives of California-based chipmaker Intel to discuss possible incentives for a new plant in Italy, a development that she considers “highly strategic.”