The European Commission updates the Union’s industrial strategy, but more attention is needed for the aluminium value chain

by Mario Conserva

The European Commission has recently updated the Union’s industrial strategy in response to the Covid-19 crisis, redefining the objectives of the transformation towards a more sustainable, digital, resilient and competitive economy. This update was announced by President Ursula von der Leyen as early as September 2020, and has found a broad response in the request of EU leaders for a European industrial policy line aiming to be an ambitious frontrunner with the objective of a more sustainable, greener, more competitive and more resilient industry, if we may use this very trendy adjective to underline the solidity of the foundations. The updated strategy therefore suggests new measures to strengthen the solidity of our single market, especially in times of crisis, seeking to better identify critical issues in key strategic areas and measures to address them, solutions to accelerate green and digital transitions; maximum attention to the main indicators of the competitiveness of the EU economy, such as single market integration, productivity growth, international competitiveness, public and private investment development and commitment in R&D. EU leaders have also invited the Commission to identify strategic dependence, particularly in the most sensitive industrial ecosystems, without neglecting references to critical situations related to basic raw materials such as steel; on our part, we would like to add aluminium, an exemplary case of an indispensable material for development, a champion of circular economy, a value chain of excellence in the EU and also for this reason deserving greater attention for energy aspects, for possible critical points of dependence in supplies, for the substantial and serious commitment to be achieved in the general objectives of the double green and digital transition. Aluminium is a case of great interest for Europe, and even more so for Italy, one of the leading countries in the development of the light metal industrial system, especially in the downstream network of small and medium-sized companies, wishing to ensure that the voice of the companies and their requests for adequate tools for competitiveness, innovation, and equal access to raw materials will reach Brussels loud and clear.