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EU Steelday sets out needs for European steel sector, Brussels, May 16th, 2013

Three voices were heard at the high level conference on 16 May, entitled “Securing the industrial future with steel in Europe“:

The Industry

A man works in steel industry

© industrieblick / Fotolia

The industry, which stressed that, compared with its competitors, the EU steel industry is facing specific difficulties due to policies that are weakening it:

  • the European roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050 that calls for a reduction of 80% of CO2 production based on 1990 data while – according to a study, to be published before the summer, from the Boston Consulting Group and the German Steel Institute – not more than a 15% reduction will be achievable;
  • the EU environmental policy (e.g. Directive on industrial emissions 2010/75/EU) that is difficult to implement, for instance since new technologies for emission reductions are not yet available.

Industry also denounced the enormous administrative burden required to obtain EU funding.

While signs of recovery are currently absent in the EU, the EU steel industry does not look at Europe as a post-industrial society due to the fact that it still invents and produces;

The Unions

The unions, who declared that

  • the steel industry lost 40 000 jobs recently, but it still provides jobs for 360 000 persons;
  • the instruments available in the Coal and Steel Community have now disappeared, so opening up the market much more. Therefore, the sector requires
    • guidance;
    • a revision of the EU policies which are weakening it; and
    • measures to help restore demand;

The Commission

The Commission, through the speeches of two Commissioners:

  • László Andor (Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) who fears an enormous risk of losing human capital, due to the current economic crisis, leading to a loss in the future manufacturing capacity of Europe;
  • Antonio Tajani (Vice-President in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship)
    • shares this view, as he thinks that more should be done in order to attract the best human resources into the steel industry;
    • thinks that State aids are not the solution;
    • considers that the steel industry needs a revision of its legislation and a new direction, “another industrial revolution”. He mentioned
    • new research and development, through Horizon 2020, in order to create new markets;
    • stimulating demand in the EU;

Discussion

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