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Postcovid Europe must reduce dependences on resources from third countries

Date

2021 05 27

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Minister of the Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė is taking part in the EU Competitiveness Council meeting in Brussels, where issues related to the new industrial strategy and the EU’s strategic dependences on third countries are discussed.

‘The pandemic has shown that in crisis situations where supply chains of goods, services and raw materials are disrupted countries and citizens become vulnerable. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we saw each country fighting for medical masks and ventilation machines, now the same for vaccines. The European Union must therefore be united not only by defining clear rules for operation, but also by reducing its strategic dependence on third countries. This concerns both natural resources and medical, pharmaceutical products and digital services,’ says Armonaitė.

The Minister said that some products needed by Europeans should be manufactured in Europe rather than in third countries; this could certainly reduce dependences on other countries, strengthen the EU internal market, promote economic growth and business development. Currently, as many as 70 % of components required for antibiotics in the EU are imported from China. The digital domain is even more dependent. The EU’s largest cloud supplier currently accounts for less than 1 % of the European market; while the entire Community public cloud market is dominated by several large foreign suppliers.

According to the Minister, the pandemic opened more opportunities for the life sciences industry. Lithuania is a good example of this. The life sciences sector in our country generates 2 % of the GDP, which is six times as high as the EU average. The export of the Lithuanian life sciences sector is growing by 22 % each year; almost 600 companies work in this field. According to the Minister, Lithuania is ready to offer knowledge and experience in this area to other EU Member States.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the EU’s internal market is vulnerable both because of dependence on third countries and also because of the lack of clear rules on how to deal with crisis situations. Lithuania therefore supports the European Commission’s initiative to develop emergency aid measures for the EU Single Market, which will ensure a coordinated functioning of the entire Community, prevent competition and protect smaller EU Member States.