Συμμετοχή και παρέμβαση κας Άννυς Ποδηματά (*) σε συζήτηση με θέμα
“Energy Transition: Development of renewable energies, climate change and political/security repercussions”
5 Ιουλίου 2023
Η κα Άννυ Ποδηματά, εκπροσωπώντας την «Ελληνική Παραγωγή – Συμβούλιο Βιομηχανιών για την Ανάπτυξη», συμμετείχε στις 5 Ιουλίου σε συζήτηση με θέμα “Energy Transition: Development of renewable energies, climate change and political/security repercussions” στο πλαίσιο του “Summer University In Greece | Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation” που διοργάνωσαν το που διοργάνωση το Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE) και το Ινστιτούτο Διεθνών Σχέσεων (ΙΔΙΣ).
Ακολουθεί η παρέμβαση της κας Ποδηματά:
I am very glad to be part of this discussion and I would like to thank IDIS for the kind invitation. Let me share with you a few remarks mainly from the business perspective, especially the manufacturing industry perspective, starting by a short presentation of our Organization, namely “the Hellenic Production – Industry Roundtable for Growth”.
It’ s a non-profit Organization, established in 2017, as a joint initiative of smaller and larger manufacturing companies and the country’s main regional industrial associations. Why?
Because as we all remember, Greece has experienced a deep and painful economic crisis and although we very much focused, internally but also externally, to the fiscal dimension, there was another equally important but underestimated factor of the Greek crisis, the huge current account deficit.
The so-called twin deficits -the fiscal and the current account deficit -both at around 15% of GDP at late 2009 early 2010- resulted in monetary instability, excessive borrowing and finally to unsustainable levels of external debt and default.
This is history of course. But when the decision was made to establish “Hellenic Production” there was -and there still is-a lesson to be learned from our crisis: It was imperative to procced to “a paradigm shift” regarding our growth model, to move away from an economic model that relies heavily -almost exclusively- on tourism and on debt-fueled consumption towards a more balanced economy based on technologically advanced production, innovation and exports. That means set the ground for a truly modern, competitive and thus RESILIENT economy.
And although the main reasons behind our initiative were the lessons learned from the Greek default, global crises that occurred since then -and I am referring to the COVID -19 crisis and the economic and energy crisis that erupted as a result of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, further justified this cause.
Let me now make the link with our main topic today:
Firstly, energy transition and the broader transformation of our economy, it’s a must, it’s an imperative task, for the Globe, for the EU and for the euro-Mediterranean region. It’s no secret that euro Mediterranean countries are among the most exposed to the climate change, the ones facing huge risks of desertification and extreme weather phenomena.
But beside the risks there are big opportunities for the Euro-Mediterranean countries due to the huge and still quite unexplored potential of Renewable Energy Sources and -I would add -to their valuable resources of Critical Raw Materials that are rightly considered as the oxygen of the new green economy.
In order to mitigate the risks and explore the opportunities the key word is “cooperation” and level playing field. Mutually beneficial cooperation for the EU and the non-EU Mediterranean countries.
Cooperation that contributes to the global challenge in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions and climate change mitigation but equally contributes to a sustainable and socially inclusive growth especially in the most vulnerable countries. Mediterranean countries, as the owners of their national wealth, must be the first to benefit from this cooperation and the EU -established as a community of values and principles has to act as “a guarantor” that the benefits are distributed to the whole society. So, we have to avoid mistakes of the past.
How can we do that?
Firstly, we have to agree that we share this goal and then try to put down some safety valves-and I would mention full transparency on every step of the cooperation and involvement in the decision-making progress not only of governments and institutions but also civil society and the business sector -all of them working together and in close cooperation.
I would like to raise awareness to another point linked to our discussion: the transition challenges of the energy intensive industries, in the global, European and regional level.
The sector, due to its energy intensity, is faced with huge challenges and risks in order to proceed to its transformation, to swift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and improve drastically its energy efficiency.
We should keep in mind that energy is a crucial factor not only for climate change mitigation. Energy is also the Oxygen of the economy. There is no economic activity without energy. And the industrial sector is of a major importance for the competitiveness of any economy. All the crises of the past have demonstrated that countries with a strong industrial base are much more resilient and better placed to deal with external crises. For the modern economies, innovation, technological advancement and extroversion, are equally important factors meaning that “quality factors” and not only “quantity factors” have an important role to play.
So, we have to combine both. Encourage and support the transition of the industrial sector without endangering its global competitiveness. And this is not only an economic imperative, it’s also a social and political imperative, since the manufacturing sector as demonstrated but academic literacy and as highlighted by the current global trend of re-industrialization, is crucial for social inclusiveness and cohesion and for the wellbeing of the middle class. So, among other things it can diminish risks of social unrest and anti-systemic waves…
(*) Η κα Άννυ Ποδηματά είναι Σύμβουλος Ευρωπαϊκών Θεμάτων στην «Ελληνική Παραγωγή – Συμβούλιο Βιομηχανιών για την Ανάπτυξη»