Brussels, 15 July 2015 – The European Steel Association (EUROFER) today reacted to the official publication of the Commission proposal on the revision on the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The industry calls on EU policy makers to ensure that the proposal is adjusted in order to fully offset direct and indirect carbon costs at the level of the most efficient steel plants in Europe. These plants are exposed to fierce global competition and have been repeatedly recognised as being at a very high risk of carbon leakage.
“Employment in the European steel industry has dropped by over 20% compared to levels in the sector before the economic crisis and EU steel demand is still 25% below pre-crisis levels. If not adjusted and improved, the Commission’s new ETS proposal will deliver another major blow to our sector,” said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER.
“We appeal to policy makers to take this threat seriously and not ignore the clear results of the impact assessments or the anticipated effects on the EU steel industry. The goal of the EU ETS is to reduce the impact of Europe’s economic activity on the climate, an objective that the European steel industry has welcomed and actively contributed to. EUROFER is, however, concerned that several elements of the revision risk the continued competitiveness of the continent’s steel industry,” added Mr Eggert
In particular, the proposal fails to secure a global level playing field. This is because even the most efficient European steel plants will experience excessive additional costs not borne by their global competitors. This uneven distribution of costs is due to the continuation of the cross sectoral correction factor, as well as the artificial reduction of the performance benchmarks. Both of these arbitrary moves cut free emissions rights down below technically feasible levels. Finally, it does not provide the necessary legal certainty that indirect carbon costs passed through in electricity prices will be offset in all member states. Presently, 22 member states do not offset any of these unilateral EU costs.
Mr Eggert added, “In its current form the proposal represents a missed opportunity to fix the fundamental flaws of the EU ETS. Despite the well-accepted importance to the economy of a competitive industrial base, the proposal is at odds with the goals of the European Commission’s Agenda on Jobs, Growth and Investment. It also fails to take into account the European Council guidelines on the importance of preventing carbon and investment leakage that were reinstated in the recently adopted text of the Market Stability Reserve.”
“The ETS is one of the most powerful levers available to EU policy makers to act on the economy. However, it has to be accompanied with a more detailed and realistic impact assessment that takes into consideration the challenges our sector faces. We believe that a tool to strengthen environmental performance should not risk European jobs and prosperity, as the current proposal does. The EU needs to stop exporting jobs and importing CO2,” concluded Mr Eggert.
About the European Steel Industry
Steel is 100 % recyclable, over and over again, without loss of its unique properties – a permanent material for today´s and future generations. STEEL MADE IN EUROPE is essential. The EU steel industry plays a vital role in many of Europe´s strategic supply chains. It offers value added products and services developed in close cooperation with its customers to create a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world. EUROFER, the European Steel Association, represents almost 100 percent of steel made in Europe, combining a turnover of approximately €166 billion – a share of 1.3 percent in the EU’s GDP. At more than 500 steel production and processing sites in 24 EU member states we provide direct employment for 335 thousand people and indirect employment for millions of European citizens.
About the Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries (AEIE)
EUROFER is a member of The Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries (AEII). The AEII represents over 30,000 European companies and four million jobs in the EU. AEII industries are at the core of the EU economy and are the starting points of multiple value chains, such as the car industry, fuels, buildings, energy production, including renewable energies, food and drinks, and pharmaceuticals.