Metals, Coal and Steel
The EU is well on track to achieve the 2020 targets on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. However, maintaining a healthy trajectory towards a carbon-neutral economy will demand clear investment planning in R&D and infrastructure, significant clean energy deployment and political will, both internationally and at home, over the coming decades.
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.
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.
During the energy transition towards the low-emission economy, the EU energy system faces a period of profound technological, economic and social change that will affect many of the energy sectors, including the coal industry and hence the coal-mining regions of the EU. However, the currently active coal-mining regions have to prepare for the phasing-out of coal production to be in line with EU energy and climate policy decisions on fossil fuel use or for economic reasons.
The Consultative Commission on Industrial Change organised seven round tables on coal transition in the past two years in various member states of the European Union. The countries visited were Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland and Greece. Today we have a presentation and a debate on the findings of these round tables, also with the participation of some speakers who took part in the round tables.
CANCELLED / Round Table "Just Transition Fund: Transition Challenges from the de-lignitisation in Western Macedonia" organised on 30-31 March 2020 in the Region of Western Macedonia (Ptolemaida) in Greece.
Following the publication of the European Commission's Update to the New Industrial Strategy, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has been carrying out a series of activities to fulfil its role of representing the views of organised civil society. A first event in this process has been a conference held on 17 June 2021, from 2.30 to 6 p.m., on Updated industrial strategy: towards a more resilient and strategically autonomous EU industry?