The European steel sector supports the jobs of 350,000 people and is of key importance for our manufacturing industry. But substantial drops in demand for steel and severe challenges, in terms of restructuring and a lack of investment, threatens the future and the long-term competitiveness of the steel industry.
The EPP Group demands immediate action to ensure that European steel has a bright future and contributes to the re-industrialising of the EU - bringing the share of manufacturing back to 20 percent by 2020.
Therefore, we call for the following actions:
- We call on the Commission to urgently implement the Steel Action Plan proposed in June 2013 to revive the European steel industry vis-à-vis the global market with a view to guaranteeing an effective level playing field.
- We ask for a re-launch of the High Level Expert Group on Steel to monitor and analyse the global steel market and provide guidance for corrective and proactive measures.
- We call for improved access to finance and greater investment in the EU steel sector. We ask the European Investment Bank to design a long-term financing framework for steel projects.
- We must put more focus on research and innovation into cleaner and more efficient technologies to boost the entire sector and to stimulate and enable them to use the best available, and cleanest, technologies, promoting innovative production processes using the European funds available.
- We need to improve the European market environment for steel products to encourage the purchase of European-produced steel products.
- We have to enforce the existing Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) more decisively and swiftly to tackle unfair competition and steel imports which have been illegally subsidised and dumped.
- We call on the Council to speed up the modernisation of TDIs and on the Commission to come up with further measures to improve transparency and enable the EU to act quickly in defence of our industry.
- We call for a shorter lead time for trade defence measures by means of "threat of injury"-based anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases.
- The European steel sector is cleaner and more efficient than many producers outside the EU. Forcing production to move outside the EU would lead to higher global CO2 emissions and fewer EU jobs. We want strong carbon leakage measures that do not add additional carbon costs to the EU steel sector, which is faced with high energy costs, so that the cleaner and more efficient plants do not leave the EU. This has to be a fundamental consideration in the review of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) after 2020.
We want to set up a European Sector Skill Council for Steel to establish cooperation and best practise among organisations and to set up skills development projects.