A thriving European steel industry is crucial for the EU’s strategic autonomy and resilience. However, over the past decade, the EU has shifted from being a net steel exporter to a major net steel importer, losing 30 million tonnes of sales on the EU and export markets. Additionally, the EU steel industry has lost 26 million tonnes of steel production capacity and 25% of its workforce.
The EU is facing a new global reality. To ensure that the EU remains competitive in the middle of the greatest transformation of the industry towards climate-neutrality, it is essential to adopt disruptive thinking and innovative measures. Otherwise, competitors such as the US and China are likely to create a more attractive investment and production environment for green steel, further threatening the EU’s strategic autonomy. The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) alone will provide at least USD 85 billion of funding for steel production and upstream energy requirements.
Steel is essential for a climate-neutral economy. Renewables, hydrogen, wind and electric vehicles, are all dependent on steel. It is estimated that more than 74 million tons of steel will be required for the expansion of renewable energy generation alone, demonstrating that the foundations of the Net-zero Age are made of steel. A successful EU industrial policy requires a value chain-based approach, with steel at the core of the Green Deal Industry Plan and as an integral part of the Net-Zero Industry Act. To transition steel and other energy-intensive industries towards carbon neutrality and enhance circularity while ensuring the EU industry’s competitiveness is protected, the following enabling conditions are indispensable:
1. Access to sufficient and globally cost-competitive fossil-free energy and primary and secondary raw materials such as steel scrap, which is strategic.
2. Better tailored, more certain, clear and flexible funding and financial incentives across the EU are required, as well as faster processing of applications. Increased support for the roll-out of low-carbon steel projects rather than for research and innovation is necessary.
3. Establishment of lead markets for green steel and products (including low-CO2 steel); this could be achieved through public procurement, quotas, ambitious GHG thresholds or introduction of GHG pricing for final products based on their lifecycle emissions.
4. Trade policy that levels the playing field with global competitors:
It is also essential to prioritise and mainstream industrial policy and competitiveness while reducing regulatory burdens in all policy initiatives and legislative proposals, ensuring long-term predictability.
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Brussels, 13 September 2023 – The European steel sector welcomes the vision for a renewed Industrial Strategy set out by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the State of the Union address. Relaunching Europe’s industrial engine with concrete measures in all relevant policy areas should be both a core mission for the final year of this legislature and a top priority for the future EU executive. The European steel sector, which has launched over 60 industrial-scale decarbonisation projects, stands ready to engage with the Commission to develop and implement the urgent actions needed to boost the whole European cleantech ecosystem, says the European Steel Association.
Brussels, 11 September 2023 – The European metals industry, including both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, has initiated the process to establish its own EU Transition Pathway* in collaboration with the European Commission. The metals sector plays a pivotal role in facilitating the EU’s green and digital transitions by enabling several strategic value chains at the core of the clean tech economy. The objective of this comprehensive plan is to ensure the sustainability and resilience of the metals sector, aligning it with the overarching objectives of the EU twin transition.
Brussels, 16 August 2023 – On 14 August, the Commission initiated two anti-circumvention investigations regarding possible circumvention via Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures imposed in 2021 and 2022 against imports of stainless steel cold rolled flat products from Indonesia. EUROFER welcomes the openings and the immediate registration of the imports from those countries towards a possible retroactive application of the existing duties.