Transition to a circular economy is a must if we are to protect our planet, but also if we are to increase the competitiveness of European industry. This is a long-term process that will require numerous initiatives at European, national and regional level. Companies see the circular economy as an opportunity. "Going green" is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for businesses, providing real savings in terms of raw materials, water and energy.
You are here
Metals, Coal and Steel
Ahead of the demonstration organised by IndustriAll for 9 November, which will bring to Brussels 10,000 steel workers from across Europe to protest against the continuous decline of their sector, the EESC's "steel" rapporteurs from both Employers' and Workers' groups have called for a level playing field for Europe's steel industry. Europe's steel industry has been hard hit by the financial and economic crisis and the austerity policies adopted as a result. It has also suffered harshly from the massive influx of unfairly traded steel products, mainly from China.
Transition to a circular economy is a must if we are to protect our planet, but also if we are to increase the competitiveness of European industry. This is a long-term process that will require numerous initiatives at European, national and regional level. Companies see the circular economy as an opportunity. "Going green" is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for businesses, providing real savings in terms of raw materials, water and energy. Apart from its environmental and economic benefits, the circular economy also has social advantages, providing new jobs and new business models.
Not since the late 1970s, when Europe adopted the so-called “Davignon rescue plan” for its steel, have we witnessed a more serious crisis in the European steel sector. This time it is caused by illegal foreign trade practices. Today, once again, European mills are idled. Plant continue to be shut down, the most recent case being in the UK. European workers are laid off. The EU has seen a 120% surge in Chinese imports since 2013, with 7 000 steelworkers having lost their jobs across Europe since autumn 2015.
If the message of this opinion should be summarised in a sentence, this would be: "Enough is enough; rules must be respected".
Steel industry is at the forefront of granting MES to China. However, the opinion does not tackle the legal and political side of granting MES to China (CCMI/144). It focuses on the Commission's communication and puts forward specific additional measures to provide Europe's steel industry with the level playing field it needs to preserve growth and jobs.
On the 14 November 2014, the Employers' Group of the EESC will be organizing a seminar in Zagreb jointly with the Croatian Employers organizations HUP (Croatian Employers 'Association), HGK (Croatian Chamber of Economy) and HOK (Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts) entitled : "Securing Essential Imports for the EU Energy: New opportunities - or new threats?". This keynote conference, which will be attended by many of our Members together with Government representatives and a number of local businessmen, aims to examine the depth of EU dependence on imports of energy and to look at alternative possibilities for supply of predictable and secure sources of energy.
The EESC considers the APS as a first step forward, recognising the steel sector as a strategically important sector for Europe and a motor for growth. It will be judged on the way it is implemented. Not only on medium and long term as foreseen but also on what practical measures will be immediately decided. The opinion makes specific immediate suggestions to ensure that the sector remains strategic for the European manufacturing industry and employment.
The European engineering industry (EI) plays a vital role in the economic recovery of Europe and the ambitious goal to increase the industrial output by 2020 to more than 20% of the GDP. However, more investment of companies is necessary to generate such growth, to reverse the current trend and to get people out of unemployment.
In the framework of this opinion a hearing (The processing and exploitation, for economic and environmental purposes, of the industrial and mining waste deposits from European Union) was organized in Cluj Napoca / Kolozsvár, in Romania, on 19 May 2011.