European steel is essential for the green transition. It provides 310,000 direct, and 2.2 million indirect jobs, in the EU. Ahead of the EU elections in 2024, various pieces of EU legislation need to be finalised to ensure a more sustainable future for the steel industry in Europe.
Now more than ever, the European steel sector and its workers need to see increased support for investment to ensure that the green and digital transitions are managed successfully with no steel worker or region being left behind.
In a joint statement published this week, the European Social Partners industriAll Europe and EUROFER:
- Agree to work together towards a sustainable European steel industry that supports quality jobs with good working conditions.
- Commit to fully respect social dialogue at all levels, in line with national or European legislation.
- Call for the fast implementation of the enabling framework conditions in all relevant policy areas (funding, permitting, trade, energy, climate, etc) to spur investment to decarbonise the sector noting the importance of social conditionalities.
- Highlight the need for fair access to the EU Modernisation Fund and EU Innovation Fund for any steel site which meets the relevant criteria, noting the high levels of investment needed to decarbonise steel plants.
- Confirm their intent to follow the first phase of the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and to propose relevant reviews and improvements as required to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
- Stress the need to find urgent solutions to limit the costs and prices of gas and electricity as well as long-term solutions to ensure access to affordable and clean energy, including hydrogen.
- Will continue to support the revision and implementation of the EU’s Waste Shipments Regulation insisting that strong social and environmental standards must be upheld and that the European industry must have access to high-quality scrap.
- Continue to advocate for a more level international playing field which requires an effective EU - US Arrangement on Sustainable Steel tackling global overcapacity and related unnecessary CO2 emissions, maintaining steel safeguards, tackling dumping of cheap steel and working towards fair competition.
- Will collaborate together on the forthcoming EU transition pathway on basic metals to establish an ambitious blueprint for the sectors to meet the twin digital and green transitions while ensuring a Just Transition.
- Stand ready for the Clean Transition Dialogue as announced in the State of the Union Speech of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the regulatory framework for the digital and green transformation of the steel sector.
- Call for candidates for the European elections in 2024 to commit to working with the national and European steel social partners towards a more sustainable European steel sector.
Judith Kirton-Darling, Acting Joint General Secretary of industriAll Europe said:
“We need strong social partners working together to ensure resilient and sustainable industries in Europe with good industrial jobs for all. Employers, trade unions and policy makers need to work together to ensure the successful decarbonisation of the steel industry in a fair and just manner. We urgently need a proactive European industrial plan designed to deliver good industrial jobs, including in the steel sector, and we call on EU policy makers to listen to the European social partners and act. Europe needs steel and steel needs Europe!’’