"Steel is of key importance for European industry. Not only does the sector provide employment for more than 330,000 workers, but it also plays an essential role in the first stage of the industrial value chain and in the manufacturing of many industrial products. We must secure the future of European steel and this includes safeguarding against the import of steel at dumping prices, the presence of strong trade defence instruments and an emissions trading system that supports jobs and the environment. Furthermore, Europe desperately needs the European Steel Action Plan to be implemented. The restructuring needs to stop if we want to secure a future for our steel sector, its jobs, and know-how that we have built up over so many decades in Europe." said Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe .
Over the past seven years, more than 80,000 jobs have been lost in the European steel industry. Employment now stands at an all-time low of 330,000, with growing uncertainties looming on the horizon. Steel capacities within Europe need to be preserved in order to maintain a competitive industrial base. Further restructuring is therefore not the solution, as it will only serve to weaken the European steel sector further.
Under the umbrella of industriAll Europe, the participants marched to make the following demands:
- No to dumping, yes to fair trade!
European steel should be traded at fair, undistorted prices, guaranteeing an international level playing field. We cannot accept a European policy that does not create this fair level playing field.
- An emissions trading system that supports the environment & jobs!
IndustriAll Europe supports the goals of decarbonising industry and greening workplaces. However, organising and ensuring a just transition must not be to the detriment of 'top environmental performers' such as the European steel plants. Fine-tuned measures are needed in order to avoid the counterproductive effects of legislation.
- Effective trade defence instruments
European industry, and specifically its steel industry, needs to be shielded from products that are produced by companies which do not respect the principles of fair competition and have no regard for environmental or social standards!
- A proactive industrial policy to support the steel industry
The European Commission needs to recognise the pivotal role played by the steel industry in the revival of European industry and must commit to finally implementing the Steel Action Plan!
- More & better jobs
financial crisis has shown that industry is the backbone of the European economy and that it accounts for numerous indirect jobs in the value chain. Protecting and increasing industrial employment needs to go back to being a number one priority!
- Increasing steel capacities
Do not downsize Europe's steel capacities – modernise them!
We call on the European Commission to create a level playing field for European steel makers in a global market. The decision that the European Commission takes regarding the Market Economy Status of China is therefore of crucial importance for the future of the steel sector and other related sectors suffering from unfair imports at dumping prices. We will reject the proposal of any alternative 'solution' which falls short of our demand to create a fair level playing field for our European Steel sector.
"Allowing the import of steel at dumping prices on European markets can never be part of a European trade or industrial policy. It will destroy industry and jobs. Action needs to be taken now, to agree on a policy that protects jobs and capacities. Don't destroy our industry, protect and reinforce it!" declared Luc Triangle.
Regarding environmental legislation, the European steel sector has suffered from uncertainties regarding the obligations placed upon the sector by the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Despite these negative side effects, Europe's steel making plants are amongst the leaders when it comes to environmental performance and achievements linked to emission reductions. It would therefore be economically fatal for Europe, and harmful for the global climate, should the European Union lose even more of its steel plants to countries that are not bound to the progressive legislation which is in place in Europe.
It is now time for the EU to act and to keep its promise to ensure that there will never be a Europe without steel!
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