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The European Commission released its new guidelines earlier today, a day after it emerged that it had agreed with the German government on renewable energy tax reforms.

Eurofer, the European steel association, criticised the commission for not exempting all steelmaking processes from renewable energy taxes, and for requiring that the exempted companies pay a 15% minimum share of taxes or 4% of their gross value added.

“The 15% minimum contribution to national renewables subsidies will still lead to a further substantial increase in energy costs for many energy-intensive companies in the EU – costs which competitors do not have to bear,” Eurofer director general Gordon Moffat said.

The steel industry body also complained that final decisions on the amount of tax discounts lie with member states, as this means that the minimum contribution required from high energy-using industries could cause distortions within the European market.

“We cannot operate an industry that is producing globally traded products such as steel where you have differentials in cost that are so horrendous,” Moffat said.