Eurofer: EC must promote investment, not cripple industry

Eurofer is planning to take legal action against the European Commission’s proposed emissions benchmarks. However, if this fails it will be time to consider how the industry can weather the added costs. SBB’s Green Steel Strategies conference looked at a number of approaches. More stories from the conference will follow shortly.

SBB 6 April The European steel industry could lose its lead in technology to Japan or China if European Union policy fails to encourage further investment in the industry, argues Eurofer director general Gordon Moffat. Speaking at Steel Business Briefing’s Green Steel Strategies summit in Brussels, he added that EU policy is in danger of crippling the industry.

The main threat comes from the implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Moffat says. The scheme is not being executed as intended, he alleges. The European Commission was meant to set benchmarks for free carbon credit allowances, allowing the most efficient European plants to avoid any significant additional costs.

However, the proposed benchmarks are unachievable by even the most efficient steelmakers, Eurofer claims and the organisation plans to take the European Commission to court over the benchmarks, as previously reported by SBB.

The industry would have faced a 15% shortfall in carbon credits if the benchmarks had been set at levels recommended by Eurofer, Moffat says. The EC’s benchmarks are likely to result in an €11bn cost to the steel industry in 2013-2020, Eurofer estimates.

Moffat also raised the issue of higher electricity prices as a result of the ETS. The EC has allowed member states to give some compensation to industry. However, guidelines have not been set and Eurofer is concer,ned that the EC will not recommend full compensation, he adds.


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