Give Europe’s steel sector level playing field, industry chiefs tell EC

The heads of 64 European steel companies have called for a “level playing field” in the absence of a global carbon reduction policy, steel association Eurofer said on Wednesday March 12.

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The most efficient steelmaking plants should be given 100% emissions allowances and carbon costs should be passed on to industry through energy prices must be fully compensated, the company chiefs said in a February 28 petition to European heads of state.

“Hopes for the early conclusion of a global agreement providing a level playing field have been dashed,” the petition said. “The likelihood of an agreement in 2015 creating a truly level playing field is remote.”

The signatories include Eurofer president (and Voestalpine ceo) Wolfgang Eder, ArcelorMittal Europe ceo Aditya Mittal and Tata Steel Europe ceo Karl Koehler.

They believe that a win-win energy and climate policy for the EU can be found that does not damage Europe’s steel industry.

The petition was delivered ahead of the European Council’s monthly meeting in Brussels on March 20-21, which is expected to focus on industrial competitiveness and energy and climate policies.

The EU must cut emissions by 40% below 1990 levels and generate 27% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, according to the EU’s 2030 framework for climate and energy policies, announced in January. 

This differs from previous EU renewables targets because the 27% target is not binding on each member state individually, but on the EU as a whole, with each member state making an appropriate contribution.

In response, a group of energy ministers from smaller EU nations told the EU Council of Ministers in March that they are not willing to sacrifice steelmaking competitiveness to meet these 2030 emissions targets. 

European steelmakers are concerned that efforts to reduce emissions within the EU, such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), are harming their competitiveness in global terms, as other steelmaking nations and regions do not bear the same costs.