The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said the EU is preparing legislation to promote cleantech and innovation, as it attempts to counter the US’s move to boost its energy transition.

The EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan will include an acceleration of permitting for new projects, a loosening of state aid rules and a European sovereign fund to support research and strategic projects. 


“We see aggressive attempts to attract our industrial capacities away to China and elsewhere,” said Ms von der Leyen during her address to the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 17. 

“To keep European industry attractive, there is a need to be competitive with offers and incentives that are currently available outside the EU”, she added.

The Inflation Reduction Act passed by US lawmakers in August 2022 committed $369bn to boost clean energy and green investments. The sweeping legislation has been heavily criticised by the EU as “unfairly tilting the playing field” in an attempt to lure investment to the US.

Britishvolt collapses

UK battery start-up Britishvolt collapsed into administration on January 17, after talks to secure funding from investors failed, dealing a massive blow to the UK’s efforts to develop a domestic electric vehicle supply chain.

Founded in 2019, the company had been hailed by the UK government as a homegrown champion, and had planned to build a £3.8bn gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland. The beleaguered start-up had been looking for new investors for months, having run out of money in October 2022 despite receiving backing from large corporates like Glencore and Ashtead.


Britishvolt’s collapse underlines the new economic reality facing ambitious mobility start-ups. This includes Italvolt, a start-up planning to build a new gigafactory project in northern Italy, but is yet to purchase any land or apply for building permits. 

Singapore courts talent to recharge FDI

The city-state has launched a five-year visa program targeting “top talent” across all sectors including business and academia to help the city-state attract foreign investment.

Launched on 1 January 2023, the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass targets skilled workers earning at least S$30,000 ($22,300) per month. It will provide eligible candidates with flexibility, including the ability to work for multiple companies in Singapore at the same time.

As a small city-state of about 5.5 million people, Singapore has long relied on skilled foreign professionals to complement its local workforce. This is particularly important as the Lion City continues to lure large foreign investments.

But Singapore is not alone in this strategy, with governments around the world competing to attract talent. Thailand in September unveiled a 10-year visa for skilled professionals, and Hong Kong unveiled a two-year visa in October for people earning more than $320,000 a year.