Written by E. Gibellieri
Steel underpins the value chains of the main European Union manufacturing sectors. The EU is the second largest producer of steel worldwide after China and the steel sector directly employs around 328 000 workers, as well as many more indirectly.
Since 2008, more than 90 000 jobs have been lost and, if action is not taken quickly and decisively to restore the conditions for healthy competition, this trend is set to continue.
European steel production is characterised by a high level of energy efficiency and environmental performance, as well as the top quality of products due to the continuous research and innovation activities which make it competitive in the presence of a free market and fair competition.
The enormous overcapacity worldwide and (estimated at around 500 – 700 million tonnes), particularly in China, which alone accounts for 350 million tonnes, creates an environment that destroys fair competition and the free market.
The opinion has highlighted the inefficiency of the current market defence instruments (TDI), shortcomings in the European Commission’s usage of them, restrictions on the trade and export of raw materials by some countries and the increasing use of market defence instruments.
Even the reform of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) may become an unbearable weight which could jeopardise the very existence of the EU steel industry, if it does not take real possibilities into account.
Moreover, the CCMI has focused on the need for tools to ensure that crisis situations and restructuring are managed in a socially acceptable manner.