EEA EFTA States seek to strengthen EU Net Zero Industry Act for a greener and more competitive Europe

Published 11-12-2023

In a joint EEA EFTA Comment, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway welcome the European Commission’s proposed Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA). They support the proposal’s overall objective of strengthening the European manufacturing capacity of net-zero technologies to attract investment in such projects. 

Reaching net zero is part of the EU’s goal of climate neutrality. It refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere, effectively minimising the impact of climate change. 

The Commission introduced the NZIA in March 2023 as part of the Green Deal’s Industrial Plan to create a more predictable and simplified regulatory environment in the EU. The Act seeks to boost investments in the production of more climate-friendly commodities and strengthen the EU’s competitive net-zero technology sector and energy resilience. 

In their Comment submitted to the Commission, Council and Parliament on 11 December, the EEA EFTA States highlight how the net-zero industry in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is fully integrated into European value chains. European industry benefits from a common set of rules across the European Economic Area, thus increasing its global competitiveness.  

The EEA EFTA States support the main features of the proposal, which they believe will strengthen the green, low-carbon and digital transformation of European industries.  

Iceland and Norway are world leaders in developing the entire value chain of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), including capture, transport, injection, and storage. In their view, CCS technologies will play an essential role in decarbonising industry and achieving a net-zero economy in 2050. Iceland and Norway welcome the inclusion of CCS technologies in the list of strategic net-zero technologies and support the development of a value chain approach. 

The EEA EFTA States recommend amending some of the provisions regarding permitting. In their opinion, accelerating permitting processes is necessary, but should comply with environmental, social and safety legislation, as well as with local consultation processes.  

They also support using environmental criteria in public procurement procedures but encourage the Commission to provide better guidance on exemptions from the criteria. 

Furthermore, the EEA EFTA States agree that the current skills shortage needs to be addressed. Doing so will gradually strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and make the energy system more secure and sustainable. They support the creation of Net Zero Industry Academies and the Net Zero Europe Platform but encourage further clarifications on their roles and functions. 

Read the full EEA EFTA Comment here

All EEA EFTA Comments are available here

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