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Emergency measures required now to avert European steel crisis

Emergency measures required now to avert European steel crisis

(Posted on 09/09/22)

The European steel industry has called on EU policymakers to provide immediate relief against high energy prices and costs also for energy-intensive industries exposed to international competition. Conventional trade and energy policy measures are clearly insufficient and would seriously put at risk of survival these sectors, which are the backbone of the EU’s value chains.

“The current gas and electricity prices threaten the viability of steelmaking in Europe, while third country producers not subject to such constraints or whose governments do not take similar action against the Russian aggression take advantage of the situation by exporting massively to the EU at distorted prices. As a consequence, in Europe we are witnessing steel plant closures, production curtailments and layoff programmes. The war in Ukraine and the subsequent, necessary EU sanctions against Russia have thrown the EU into an exceptional crisis which requires exceptional and immediate measures by EU policymakers to prevent the destruction of Europe’s industrial base, going beyond the EU’s usual ‘rule book’, including swift trade emergency measures”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER). “The current crisis undermines the business model of several energy intensive industries, which are the backbone of entire industrial value chains. This means concrete risks for high value jobs, investments and know-how in Europe to the advantage of third countries that benefit from far lower energy prices and do not share the same level of climate ambition”, he added.

An EU-wide response is necessary for Europe to overcome the emergency, while pursuing further integration of the national energy markets. Given the severity of the crisis, a package of different solutions is needed, and no option should be left off the table.

If EU institutions do not take urgent measures also for energy intensive industries exposed to global competition, their survival is highly uncertain. However, preliminary Commission proposals fall short in this regard. “The European steel industry is ready to contribute to the efforts of European policymakers in developing concrete solutions to overcome the crisis and deliver a more united and prosperous EU”, concluded Mr. Eggert.

EUROFER AISBL is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union.

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