High-use industries demand EU tackle energy prices urgently to maintain competitiveness

Representatives of energy-intensive industries in the EU were facing trade circumstances that were worsening day by day and that required immediate and efficient protective measures, they said in a joint statement published on Thursday September 29.
The statement came ahead of a meeting of EU energy ministers scheduled for September 30 to consider proposals for emergency intervention to tackle high energy prices.

The joint statement was published on behalf of steel industry association Eurofer, metals industry association Eurometaux, metals and minerals mining industry association Euromines, ferro-alloy producers’ association Euroalliages, and other associations representing industries including paper, cement and fertilizers.

“With the current gas price reaching about €200 [$192] per MWh, the situation is unbearable for energy-intensive producers,” the joint statement said.

“The effects of the volatility and extremely high levels of gas and electricity prices cannot be sustained,” it added. “The consequences are already being felt in industry, with shutdowns of plants and reduced production in many sectors, with the consequence of job losses. The competitiveness of European companies is threatened.”

Measures designed to disconnect electricity prices from gas prices must be introduced urgently, the statement said, because natural gas prices were reducing the competitiveness of EU companies.

The group also requested that the State Aid Temporary Crisis Framework – adopted on March 23, 2022, to support the economy in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – should be prolonged and reviewed to allow fast approvals of such aid.

“For example, requirements such as [demonstrating a] negative [figure for] earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization [Ebitda] must be removed, because it means the aid would arrive too late,” the industries said.

The EU proposals for emergency measures on energy prices under negotiation would include a windfall levy on fossil-fuel companies, a revenue cap on “inframarginal” technologies such as renewable and nuclear energy producers, and a temporary mandatory 5% reduction in energy consumption at peak times to reduce overall energy consumption by at least 10%.

Published by: Elina Virchenko