The EESC backs the EU action plan on batteries put together by the European Commission but points out that it needs to be stepped up and implemented swiftly.

There is a real risk that very large parts of the European automotive industry will relocate their production to regions close to battery cell production units, mainly in Asia. In the opinion drafted by Colin Lustenhouwer and adopted at the July plenary session, the EESC throws its support behind the European Commission's Strategic Action Plan on Batteries but warns that it needs to be beefed up and implemented quickly to avoid the possible move of European car factories outside the EU.

"The stakes are very high. We are talking about the jobs of some 13 million European workers in the sector," said Mr Lustenhouwer. "There is clearly a widespread sense of urgency among policy-makers, scientists and businesses. They realise that it is late, even too late. We need effective, safe and environmentally‑friendly batteries."

Batteries have become indispensable in our daily lives. At the moment, the EU lags far behind, both in terms of development and production and is dependent on non‑EU countries, in particular Asia. The Commission's first progress report on the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries, published in April 2019, shows that a variety of actions have been launched to develop a significant battery industry in the EU. However, much more has to be done in the EU in the coming years to develop the sector, focusing on investments and innovation. (mp)