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.
A sustainable European climate, energy and trade policies allowing the transition of the sector to a low carbon/energy- and resource-efficient economy must achieved. However, careful consideration must be given to special features of the sector. Increases in electricity prices across the EU should be compensated.
The introduction of breakthrough technologies should continue to be promoted.
Reciprocity and creating a level playing field globally must be a priority for the EU Commission.
The EESC welcomes the adoption of a quality framework for anticipation of change and restructuring. European steel sector should be made more attractive for young and highly qualified people and long-term solutions should be developed to respond to the generational change. The social partners at all levels can play a proactive role in this respect.