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The Council presidency and European Parliament negotiators have reached a provisional agreement on the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP). This platform aims to bolster EU sovereignty and competitiveness in crucial sectors such as digital and deep tech, cleantech and biotech. Key points include:

Mobilising Investments:

  • STEP will mobilise investments in critical technologies through a mix of financial incentives and measures to facilitate project financing.
  • Additional €1.5 billion allocated to the European Defence Fund to boost defence investment capacity.

Scope of Support:

  • The scope of investments covered by STEP includes the entire value chain of critical technologies and associated services.
  • The Commission will issue guidance on assessing technologies as critical for STEP investments.

Sovereignty Seal and Sovereignty Portal:

  • Projects contributing to STEP objectives will receive a Sovereignty Seal, aiding access to EU funding and attracting investments.
  • A Sovereignty Portal will serve as a one-stop-shop for funding opportunities for STEP-related projects.

Use of Cohesion Policy Funds:

  • Financial incentives will encourage cohesion policy funds towards critical technologies investments, ensuring a level playing field across member states.
  • Flexibility granted to member states for achieving climate targets under cohesion funds.

Next Steps:

  • The agreement awaits endorsement by the Council and Parliament, followed by legal-linguistic revision and formal adoption.
  • The Commission will provide an interim evaluation report on STEP implementation by the end of 2025.

Source of information: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2024/02/07/strategic-technologies-for-europe-platform-provisional-agreement-to-boost-investments-in-critical-technologies/ (Published 07 February 2024).