Eurofer urges EU to expedite economic relaunch, support climate efforts

Ahead of a July 17-18 meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on the bloc’s long-term budget and recovery plan, the European Steel Association (Eurofer) called for extra support for the steel industry and its supply chains.

“Eurofer welcomes the recovery plan, but calls on leaders to take additional, immediate measures to ensure a quick and sustainable economic resurgence. The EU recovery fund should focus investment on sectors most affected by the pandemic and that have the ambition to significantly reduce their [carbon dioxide] emissions by 2030,” the trade association said in a statement.

“The recovery plan proposal focuses on investment in digitization and the green transition from 2021 to 2024,” said Axel Eggert, director general of Eurofer.

“However, policymakers should focus the recovery plan on investment in sectors most affected by the pandemic, that are exposed to a high risk of carbon leakage, and that have the ambition to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions by 2030,” he said.

“We are asking for clear support from the European Council for an initiative on low carbon emission industry. Backing should be given independently of the location of the respective sites in Europe, to avoid competitive distortions. One way to do this is to allow other EU and national funds to supplement the recovery plan,” he added.

The trade group also called for “additional, short-term emergency measures” for sectors strongly impacted by the pandemic. Such measures should work to prevent dumping or a sudden surge of steel imports, offer incentives to stimulate demand and consider potential changes to the EU Emissions Trading System.

In its recent “Green Deal for Steel” proposal, Eurofer said hydrogen-based steel production costs would be anywhere between 35% and 100% higher than today’s carbon-based production on a metric ton of steel produced basis.

— Len Griffin