Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is the real aim of European policy the de-industrialisation of Europe?

Member States take decision on the level of free allowances under the EU ETS

The EUROFER Board met on Friday 17th December and discussed Wednesday’s decision by the Commission and member states on the level of benchmarks for carbon allowances for industry.

The benchmarks set the level of free emission allowances for industry in the third emissions trading period, 2013 to 2020. The most efficient installations in sectors at risk of carbon leakage were supposed to receive all their needs in allowances for free in order to minimize their competitive disadvantage, caused by the directive, vis-à-vis competitors from non-EU countries.

European policy is presented publically as being balanced – with ambitious targets set off by measures to protect industry. It is nothing of the sort. The climate change directive provides for free allowances for industry subject to benchmarks with the best 10% performers of industry getting 100% of their allowances for free. Yet the benchmarks for steel just agreed by the Commission and member states are substantially below this.

This is a violation of the Directive. European policy is doing nothing to tackle climate change in an efficient and effective way. The European economy and population are the real losers from this approach. Unsurprisingly, no other economy in the world is following Europe’s example.

The decision also makes capacity increases in industry almost impossible. There is no longer any incentive for industry to invest in capacities or jobs in Europe.

Represented by EUROFER, the European steel industry is a world leader in its sector with a turnover of EUR 190 billion and direct employment of 420 thousand highly skilled people, producing 200 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production and processing sites in 23 EU member states provide direct and indirect employment and a living for millions of European citizens.

The European steel industry is the backbone of Europe’s prosperity and an indispensable part of the European supply chain, developing and manufacturing in Europe thousands of different, innovative steel solutions. The European steel industry provides the foundation for innovation, durability, CO2 reductions and energy savings in applications as varied and vital as automotive, construction, machinery, household goods, medical devices, and wind mills.

Steel is 100% recyclable, it can be recycled over and over again without loss of properties. All the steel in collected end-of-life products is recycled, irrespective of the percentage of steel in the products. Steel therefore contributes significantly to the long-term conservation of the fundamental resources for future generations. About 45% of the total EU steel production is recycled steel scrap.

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