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Spain, France champion Europe's industry in bilateral summit

Spain, France champion Europe's industry in bilateral summit
Spain, France champion Europe's industry in bilateral summit Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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By Joan Faus

BARCELONA - The United States' efforts to boost green technology should not imply dismantling Europe's industry, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday after signing a new bilateral treaty with French President Emmanuel Macron in Barcelona.

The treaty calls on both countries to support the adoption of measures to protect European companies against economic coercion and unfair practices, as well as an "ambitious European industrial policy aimed at strengthening the EU's strategic autonomy and recovery capacity".

The references to industrial policy come amid an intense debate within the European Union on how to respond to government support measures under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

EU countries fear the IRA will unfairly disadvantage their companies because many of the subsidies only go to products, such as electric cars, that are built in North America.

"We welcome the fact that the U.S. is joining the green transition, but we have to reach an agreement so that this transition does not lead to the deindustrialisation of Europe," Sanchez told a joint news conference with Macron.

The Spanish government said the new friendship and cooperation treaty elevated bilateral ties to a level that Spain only has with Portugal, and in line with a similar French-German treaty.

The sides also agreed to work together for a stronger European defence in pursuit of EU's strategic autonomy - an idea long-advocated by Macron - while stressing that the strategy would go hand-in-hand with NATO membership.

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