Brussels, 26 June 2019 –The European Steel Association (EUROFER) is today hosting its annual conference, European Steel Day 2019: Transitioning to the Future of EU Industry to highlight the challenges the sector is currently facing. These include the very difficult situation of the industry, the EU steel safeguard, and the need to support innovation if the sector is to successfully decarbonise.
Speaking at the event, Geert Van Poelvoorde,
President of EUROFER, said “Today, our steel industry in Europe is at a
critical juncture, facing a number of roads we could go down. At this moment in
time, it’s not clear in which direction we will go, because we are facing a
complexity of geopolitical, economic and environmental challenges”.
European Steel Day 2019 brings together the
steel industry, policy makers and stakeholders to discuss the key issues facing
the European steel sector. Top of the agenda this year is slowing demand for
steel in 2019, booming imports, and the need for carbon
emissions reduction to be recognised by the EU as a global challenge, not one
that unfairly burdens European steelmakers.
“These challenges have the potential to erase
the whole steel industry in Europe. On the other hand, these challenges bring
us a great opportunity, if we can embrace change and use it to accelerate
innovation”, added Mr Van Poelvoorde.
“In 2018, there was a record 12% rise in
European imports of finished steel products, in a market that grew only 3.3%”
indicated Mr Van Poelvoorde. “We are grateful that the European Commission
recognised the problem and took action. However, the safeguard has failed in
its objective for a large part of our industry.”
EUROFER believes that the safeguard must work to
impede the unfair imports that are distorting the EU market. These imports are
risking the survival of domestic producers. A dynamic sector emerging from a
year of growth on its domestic market is being forced to cut jobs and
production. 330,000 people are employed directly by Europe’s steel industry.
Moving to decarbonisation, the President said,
“For steelmakers, there are several possible routes to decarbonisation – and
various pathways to achieve this are being tested by a range of steel
companies. However, funding for these projects has to come from many different
sources: to achieve decarbonisation, Europe’s steel sector cannot go it alone,
it needs massive investments and cooperation with other stakeholders”.
There is a clear link between the costs of
emissions compliance, such as the EU ETS, the costs of innovation and the
intensity of import pressure.
“Assuming a plant emits 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per
tonne steel produced and the CO2 price is €25, the additional marginal cost of
every tonne of steel for which companies have to buy CO2 allowances is €45.
This is a cost constraint that non-EU producers do not face”, explained Mr Van
These relatively small price differences can
have a significant impact on open market competitiveness when faced with volume
from other players that do not face the same costs.
“This dynamic is not recognised today in the
EU”, emphasised Mr Van Poelvoorde. “Let me be explicit: there is a future for
steel in Europe – but only if we have the momentum and knowledge to become a
continent of successful low-carbon steelmakers. Only then will global industry
follow our lead, reducing CO2 emissions globally”.
Mr Van Poelvoorde was speaking to 300 guests at
European Steel Day 2019, from across the sector and stakeholders related to it.
European Steel Day 2019:
Transitioning to the future of EU industry
European Steel Day 2019 is taking place on
Wednesday, 26 June 2019 at the Concert Noble in Brussels.
European Steel Day 2019: Transitioning to the
future of EU industry will examine the many changes taking place in
the EU and the world today – for instance, in environment and trade policy –
and how these changes will affect not just the European steel industry, but
also sectors related to it. It will look at how policy makers and business
leaders intend to continue the transition to a cleaner, more circular EU
economy in the coming years.
For more information, please visit www.europeansteelday.eu
EUROFER Manifesto –
This manifesto sets out the footprint and
importance of European steel to the EU economy, and explains why we need to
make the industry more innovative, skilled and sustainable while also ensuring
there is a robust trade policy that defends the sector against the challenges
posed by overcapacity and trade surges. The manifesto can be downloaded: here
New infographic explains
EU steel safeguard
The EU put in place a safeguard in the wake of
the US’ decision to impose a 25% tariff on all steel product imports into the
US. This action, when seen in the context of massive global steel production
overcapacity, risked causing massive deflection of steel volumes to the EU
market, which an open market. Imports surged in 2018, rising by 12%. This
infographic explains how the safeguard works and identifies some of the
problems with it. The images are below and a PDF version can be downloaded: here
About the European Steel
EUROFER AISBL is located in Brussels and was founded
in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union.
EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout
the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland
and Turkey are associate members.
About the European steel
The European steel industry is a world leader in
innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170
billion and directly employs 330,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average
160 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites
across 22 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions
more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and
construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and
employment in Europe.
Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The
thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make
the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a
fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material,
steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of
innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and
fostering sustainable development in Europe.