The European Union needs to reposition its economy to become more independent from global powers like Asia and the United States, especially in the production medicines and processors, President of the European Council Charles Michel said on Tuesday.

Speaking as a guest at the Brussels Economic Forum, Michel said the strategic independence of the 27-nation bloc in essential products was the EU’s most important project for this century.

“Our industrial strategy will foster greater independence and make sure we have access to all the necessary resources to ensure the prosperity of our citizens. This includes, for instance, greater autonomy in producing processors, vital medicines, and other essential products,” Michel said.

“European strategic autonomy – these are not just words. The strategic independence of Europe is our new common project for this century. It’s in all our common interest. European strategic autonomy is goal number one for our generation,” Michel said.

“Europe’s recovery plan is not a three- or seven-year strategy.  It’s a thirty-year strategy. Our prosperity will be founded on democratic and human values. And for this to work, we need trust.”

Referring to the EU’s huge recovery programme agreed this summer, Michel said:  “But important steps remain to get this agreement over the finish line: the European Parliament’s consent, and the ratification by Member States. And then comes the hard work.  Because this recovery plan is not just a simple stimulus plan. It’s much more than that.  It’s a transformation strategy that will lead us to the Europe of the future. This is a Copernican moment.

“This strategy will build on its two main pillars ­– the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda – reinforced by an industrial plan for a more independent Europe. And to make this strategy sustainable, we will modernise our fiscal rules. And we never forget what underpins these plans — our unique set of European values. It’s the “why” behind all our actions to make our societies stronger, fairer, and more resilient.”

PHOTO: EU flags fly at the seat of the European Commission in Brussels