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EU Climate Policy Threatens To Destroy What Is Left Of Europe’s Steel Industry


Steelmakers in Europe have written to EU leaders urging them not to burden the industry with extra carbon emissions costs they say would make them uncompetitive against foreign rivals and raise the risk of job losses and plant closures.

Draft reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) post-2020, agreed in outline by the European Parliament in February, aimed to balance greater cuts in greenhouse gases with protection for energy-intensive industries.

Since then, negotiations between representatives of the European Parliament, governments and the European Commission have made the proposals tougher, the steel industry says.

Environmentalists say the law should not be watered down.

The CEOs of 76 steel makers, including Arcelor-Mittal , Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and Austria’s Voestalpine, say the reforms as they stand would add unmanageable costs and mean pollutants were produced by manufacturers in other regions.

“You can avoid burdening the sector with high costs that will constrict investment, or that will increase the risk of job losses and plant closures in the EU,” the CEOs say in an open letter, dated May 28, to EU heads of state and government.

Writing before more closed-door talks on Tuesday on the carbon market reforms, the CEOs say the higher costs for emitting carbon dioxide would favour imports.

“In its current form, the EU ETS favours steel imports from third country competitors that do not have such costs and which have a far higher carbon footprint than steel made in the EU,” the letter says.

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