“Intelligent public investments will strengthen Europe´s competiveness and stimulate growth. From this perspective, we welcome the Commission’s 315 billion Euros investment plan”, says Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER.
As a consequence of the economic and financial crisis, the level of investment in the EU has dropped significantly in the past seven years, by about 15 percent, due to calculations from the European Commission. Economic recovery, job creation, long-term growth and competitiveness have been hampered as a result.
The focus of the investment plan is in the field of infrastructure, notably broadband and energy networks, transport infrastructure, research and innovation, education and renewable energy and energy efficiency. These projects could support demand for steel and its value chains. “The investment projects should prioritize on infrastructures such as railways, roads, waterways, harbors, buildings, flood protection, and on innovation for large scale industrial projects, including energy efficiency and low-carbon projects”, says Axel Eggert.
On the other hand, the plan will only be successful if mainstreamed with other EU initiatives. “The Commission should review as rapidly as possible the EU Emissions Trading Directive in order to avoid carbon and investment leakage in the European industry.For sectors exposed to fierce global competition, such as steel, the Directive must not result in direct and indirect costs at least at the level of best performers, as requested by the European Parliament and the European Council Conclusions of 23 October 2014 on the climate and energy framework 2030”, Eggert says. “The best way to save jobs is a favorable business environment”.
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EUROFER, the European Steel Association, represents 100 percent of EU steel production. The European steel industry plays a vital role in many of Europe’s strategic supply chains. With steel made in EU we combine 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.