Eurofer seeks meeting with EU policy makers

The European Union (EU) steelmaker’s association Eurofer wants to meet urgently with “… EU policy makers” to discuss what it calls a “… crisis” in European steelmaking.

“There has been a sudden and markedly negative shift in the prospects of the European steel industry in recent months – and the terrible consequences are plain to see,” says Eurofer director general Axel Eggert in a statement sent to Kallanish.

He refers to a number of actual or potential steel plant closures in Europe over the past few weeks. These are due principally to global overcapacity as the underlying reason Eggert says, but also to an upsurge in deflected imports into Europe since the imposition of US Section 232 measures in 2018. Eurofer expects that steel demand in Europe will also decline by -0.4% in 2019.

“The bill of direct jobs immediately at risk exceeds 10,000. Given the EU steel industry’s multiplier effect, the loss of indirect employment in the supply chain could top 100,000,” Eggert adds.

The EU safeguard measures have not worked as intended, the director general continues. “To become effective, it needs to be revised, urgently, so that the market is not further distorted. Eurofer is seeking urgent consultations with the EU institutions and member state policy makers to remove the specific weaknesses in the current safeguard,” he says.

The biggest-volume European steelmaker ArcelorMittal has already been suspending or slowing output at several of its European facilities. The news last week that British Steel had also slumped into administration, immediately accounts for over 4000 direct jobs at risk with 20,000 downstream positions also liable to be heavily affected.