Europe needs integration, confidence amid de-industrialisation: Tata’s Adam

Europeans must look beyond their regional identities and unite both economically and administratively to ensure greater prosperity, says Tata Steel Netherlands and UK chairman Henrik Adam, who was appointed Eurofer president earlier this year.

“We Europeans see ourselves as Cologners, as Frenchmen, or Bavarians, rather than as Europeans,” he told Kallanish in an interview at last week’s wire+Tube trade fair in Düsseldorf. “The EU’s gross domestic product is bigger than that of the USA, but hardly anyone is aware of it,” he noted. “In Europe, we tend to downplay ourselves too much.”

This is not only an issue of mentality, but can mean complex hurdles in the process enabling the investments steelmakers need into cleaner technology as part of the transition to emission-free steel. “You need permissions and approvals on the national, the regional, even on the municipal levels, and this is very time-consuming,” Adam bemoaned. This could even lead to the loss of public EU money for some projects if the funding has a limited lifetime (see separate story).

In competition with overseas countries, Europe’s manufacturing industries are losing markets, but the loss must be mitigated. “A de-industrialisation of Europe cannot be avoided, but we need to keep it within limits,” he said. The industry therefore needs such trade fairs as wire+Tube, so that players remain informed and can exchange ideas, he added.

As a German, Adams pointed out some deficiencies Germany has in the energy transition in comparison with many countries with smaller populations. For wind parks, for instance, “the Baltic Sea coast does not have the wind, and our [Germany’s] North Sea coastline is small compared with the Netherlands,” he noted. Countries like Austria, Switzerland and Sweden have hydropower, while Spain and Portugal can draw strongly on solar power, he concluded.

Christian Koehl Germany