Europaforum Northern Sweden (EFNS) is a network for politicians at the

local and regional levels from Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland Härjedalen and

Västernorrland. EFNS is a meeting place and knowledge arena where EU policies

are analysed and discussed in respects where it affects northern Sweden. EFNS

monitors European issues to influence EU legislation, EU strategies and action

programmes, and the EU budget. The purpose of EFNS is to safeguard the

interests of northern Sweden both in the European arena and in relation to national

level issues with a clear European perspective.

European Forum of Northern Sweden (EFNS) welcomes the ambition behind the

European Commission’s proposal for the regulation net-zero industry act (NZIA)

but has some comments on certain aspects of the proposal.

EFNS would like to present its perspectives on the proposal for the regulation on the

Net-zero Industry Act (NZIA).

Summary of EFNS positions:

• The European Commission should focus on reducing climate impact rather than

steering towards specific technologies. Technology neutrality is essential to promote

innovative development. The regulation’s limited list of net-zero technologies risks

excluding other technologies that are or may become vital for the green transition.

• Fast-tracking strategic projects may hold a risk, as it may hinder processes for other

types of business establishments that are also important for the green transition as

well as local and regional development.

• Developing faster and transparent permit processes for more efficient business

establishments is crucial, but they should allow member states, regions, and

municipalities to develop faster processes according to their own conditions and


• The proposal involves detailed regulations that pose a risk of surpassing national

self-determination and encroaching on the self-governance of Swedish

municipalities. It is important to protect the decision-making rights of the member

states, municipalities, and the regions. Local and regional engagement is necessary

to enhance societal acceptance in industrial establishment. NZIA should have a

territorial dimension that engages municipalities and regions, while considering

democratic anchoring and the Swedish municipal planning monopoly.

Permit Processes

EFNS welcomes the ambition to shortening the timeline for permit processes but holds that

how national permit processes should be set up is an issue that should be managed at the

national level. The focus should be on encouraging each member state to make general

adjustments to their processes, promoting predictability, transparency, and efficiency.

The permit processes for large industrial establishments can be complex and time consuming,

posing obstacles to their implementation. Therefore, it is encouraging that

efforts to strengthen EU value chains and enhance innovation capacity are addressing the

challenges associated with permit procedures for business establishments. The industry

plays a pivotal role in regional development, generating employment, tax revenues, and

overall attractiveness. Streamlining and expediting permit processes for such

establishments are of utmost importance.

Nevertheless, the proposed regulations risk going beyond national self-determination and

infringing upon the autonomy of Swedish municipalities. Safeguarding the decision-making

authority of member states and local authorities is crucial to ensure social acceptance of

industrial establishments. Rather than imposing detailed regulations, the EU should

provide platforms and networks for member states to exchange experiences and

knowledge. Moreover, considering economic and geopolitical interests, it is vital for the EU

to utilize its coordinating role in mapping and clarifying Europe’s reliance on foreign

ownership within net-zero technologies. These insights can help member states to strike a

balance between strategic autonomy and trade with third countries.

EFNS identifies potential risks in fast-tracking strategic projects, as it could impede the

processes for other types of business establishments that are also pivotal for the green

transition and local/regional development.

Technology Neutrality

To promote new developments, technology neutrality is essential. Enforcing legislation that

dictates which technologies or materials should be promoted, risks disadvantaging crucial

areas that can address climate challenges, potentially hindering new discoveries or


Deviation from technology neutrality significantly limits the capacity for transition if

prevailing circumstances change. This can impede processes for other types of business

establishments, not just net-zero technologies, which are also important for the green


The regulation’s limited listing of net-zero technologies risks excluding technologies that

are or may become vital for the green transition. For example, there is room for increased

production and utilization of biomass-based technologies, which should continue to be part

of the solution for a fossil-free Europe and reduced carbon footprint.

EFNS holds that the European Commission should set requirements for reduced climate

impact – not steer towards specific technologies.

Local Anchoring for Industrial Establishments

Local and regional levels play a crucial role in achieving the goals of a climate-neutral

Europe. They can define local conditions, challenges, and opportunities necessary to attract

investments and increase the production of green technology throughout the value chain.

Therefore, EFNS emphasizes the need for NZIA to have a territorial dimension that involves

municipalities and regions and considers the planning monopolies of Swedish


The proposal regarding faster permit processes and greater national coordination through a

one-stop-shop for establishments risks reducing democratic anchoring at the local and

regional levels, which could contribute to increased polarisation. The NSPA emphasizes the

importance of involving the local community. The local community, indigenous peoples, and

valuable natural assets are aspects that must be respected and involved early in the

process. Fair and democratic establishment processes are crucial for achieving social

acceptance and require engagement from citizens, civil society, as well as local and

regional authorities. Moreover, there is a wealth of knowledge about local and regional

conditions accumulated within government agencies, organizations, and universities, which

should be fully utilized in the processing of permit applications.

A special consideration of each region’s context and objectives is the key to sustainable

development in all parts of the EU. Smart specialization and diversification are important

components in sparsely populated areas for increased competitiveness. It enables regions

to leverage relevant capacities and work efficiently, allowing research and entrepreneurship

to lead the way in the development of new ideas and products.

Industrial establishments play a vital role in the economy of affected regions but also

impose requirements on the areas in which they operate. For sustainable growth in the

industry, investments in community development and skills supply are also needed.

Find the position in PDF-format here

Adopted at the Europaforum Northern Sweden on June 25th.

Jonny Lundin (C)

Region Västernorrland

Mats Hellhoff (SD)

Region Västernorrland

Erik Lövgren (S)



Åsa Ågren Wikström (M)

Region Västerbotten

Rickard Carstedt (S)

Region Västerbotten

Ann Åström (S)

Region Västerbotten

Anders Ögren (S)

Region Norrbotten

Isak Utsi (S)

Norrbottens Kommuner

Ulrika Hammarström (S)

Norrbottens Kommuner

Jonas Andersson (S)

Kommunförbundet i

Jämtland Härjedalen

Elise Ryder Wikén (M)

Region Jämtland


Daniel Danielsson (C)

Kommunförbundet i

Jämtland Härjedalen

Lars-Gunnar Nordlander (S)

Kommunförbundet i

Jämtland Härjedalen