Today I heard the EU industry and the Member States' determination to work together and pull in the same direction. They strongly supported the establishment of a full value chain of batteries in Europe, with large-scale battery cells production, and the circular economy, at the core.
Batteries are at the heart of the ongoing industrial revolution. They represent a key enabling technology in the context of the Energy Union. Their development and production play a strategic role in the ongoing transition to clean mobility and clean energy systems. Batteries embody our ambition, as set out in President Juncker's State of the Union, to help our industries remain or become world leaders in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation.
As was recalled by the actors in our meeting, we are at a critical juncture.
The lack of a domestic, European cell manufacturing base jeopardises the position of EU industrial customers because of the security of the supply chain, increased costs due to transportation, time delays, weaker quality control or limitations on the design.
So, we need to act fast - and collectively - to overcome this competitive disadvantage and capitalise on our leadership in many sectors of the battery value chain, from materials to system integration and recycling.
Due to the level and urgency of investment needed, this cannot be done in a fragmented manner. It needs a Europe-wide approach.
Members of the EU industry and innovation community will drive this process, working in close partnership with the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and interested Member States, to establish a competitive manufacturing chain, capture sizeable markets and boost jobs, growth and investment across Europe.
Since time is running out, we concluded that we will join our efforts to come up with a strategic plan early next year. This could take the form of a comprehensive roadmap for an EU Battery Alliance, to be presented in February 2018, at the Clean Energy Industrial Forum, as part of the EU Industry Days.
The work starts immediately. Following today's high-level meeting, we will organise a number of working groups, including on the supply chain, investment financing and engineering, trade issues, research and innovation, and others. Industrial participants will take the lead, express interest to participate in or even be rapporteur for each work strand.
The process launched today is of an inclusive nature.