Study - What ways and means for a real strategic autonomy of the EU in the economic field?

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on What ways and means for a real strategic autonomy of the EU in the economic field?

This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract as a result of a negotiated procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract to give interested economic operators the possibility to express their interest in participating as tenderers in the subsequent procurement procedure.

All economic operators established in the European Union, European Economic Area and countries with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, with proven experience in conducting studies on related topics, may express their interest in participating.

DESCRIPTION

With all eyes on the war in Ukraine, the notion of  strategic autonomy is experiencing a revival in the EU. Faced with mounting uncertainties, Europe is at the core of a destabilization agenda. In the face of this, the EU has remained united and resolute and acted in unison, even though the wide-ranging implications will disrupt the EU economy, going far beyond energy security. The Ukraine war has only enhanced the urgency of this sovereignty agenda, which can be seen as the means for the EU to overcome its weaknesses, reduce its dependence, boost its power of resilience and increase its strategic clout in the world. It also means that the European Union is ready to address real sovereignty issues such as defence, security, technological autonomy and border management.

It is therefore important to reconsider our concepts of strategic autonomy in the context of a new geopolitical reshuffle, while preserving an open economy in the most sensitive industrial ecosystems and in specific areas such as health, defence, space, digital, energy, agri-food and critical raw materials. All these sectors are key drivers of EU sovereignty, rooted in the Union's economic competences and crucial for its competitiveness in the world.

At the same time, the objective of an open strategic autonomy is also a matter of promoting EU standards and values, while combating unfair competition.

An excessive dependence on the US dollar is another weakness. Such a dependence entails economic risks and additional costs for EU players, associated with the euro/dollar exchange rate, difficulties for private and public actors to raise money on financial markets due to a lack of interested investors and important political risks related to potential unilateral decisions by foreign actors. Therefore, the EU should foster a greater use of the euro in international transactions and assess the need for bigger EU-based banking players in the world.

Building on the JRC Science for Policy report Shaping and securing the EU's open strategic autonomy by 2040 and beyond, and the EESC Opinion How will given industrial ecosystems contribute to the strategic autonomy of the EU and the wellbeing of Europeans? (INT/964), the study should start by providing a proper definition of the concept of the EU's open strategic autonomy and relevant updated statistics. It should then provide tactical and practical ways in which capacities to act can be deployed – through what means, within what kinds of global relations and to what ends.

As the availability of critical raw materials is at the core of making the EU more resilient, the study should map access to such resources, either on EU territory, often not exploited for societal reasons, or elsewhere.

Through a selection of countries (10 Member States) and sectors (pharma, energy, biotech, digital, electronics, automotive, agri-food, defence and aerospace), the study should then identify role models and best practices that could be used to accelerate the strategic autonomy in the sectors mentioned and reduce dependence on the USD in international transactions.

The timeframe should cover quick wins and the medium term up to 2040.

Languages/geographical area (optional)

The study should be carried out in English and cover 10 Member States, providing a balanced sample of big and small economies from different parts of the European Union.

Indicative timeline

  1. Launch of the invitation to tender: May 2022.
  2. Contract award: July 2022.
  3. The final study report is expected within 10 to 12 months following the signature of the contract.
  4. Deadline for submission of tenders: approximately June 2022.

DATA PROTECTION

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DISCLAIMER

Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest in participating in a negotiated procedure of this type does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The procurement documents will only be provided to the identified candidates, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.

Contact

Expressions of interest to participate should be sent via the following contact form, before the deadline indicated below:

Deadline

Monday, May 9, 2022 - 15:00