The European Union and the European Steel Association EUROFER have reiterated their deep disappointment over the EU’s decision not to adjust the duty-free quota on steel imports in light of the fall in demand for steel in the EU. The steel sector has called for substantial, short-term changes to EU steel guarantees to keep the industry alive during this pandemic-triggered economic downturn. IndustriAll Europe Assistant General Secretary Mr Luis Colunga said: “This is the worst crisis we have seen in decades and represents a failure to use the protection tool to the fullest extent possible. This could jeopardize thousands of jobs and could cost taxpayers billions if the subsequent shutdowns of steel mills across Europe cannot be prevented by other measures. We need an emergency meeting with EU politicians. Together we can work on solutions to rescue the strategically important European steel sector. Only a robust domestic industry can reliably contribute to the completion of the circular economy, continue the shift towards carbon neutrality and ensure the well-being of the people of Europe. ”
EUROFER CEO Axel Eggert said: “We have seen a 50% drop in steel demand in the EU since March, but the unlimited import quota has been further increased. Objectively, this does not make sense. We expected a clear solution for the European industry. This did not happen. The resulting minor technical changes may help one group of steel products or the other, but most of our industry has remained in the cold. We are ready and willing to meet with policy-makers in an open-minded manner to develop next steps for our sector and the sectors it serves, ”Eggert said. “The result of the revised guarantees is a major disappointment and the EU still has to find ways and means to avoid further closures and job losses in the European steel sector.”
At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on June 9, several member states urged the Commission to make adjustments to the proposal to revise the safeguards, although they did not call for a sharp reduction in quotas and the elimination of unused quotas requested by the steel industry. Only minor changes were made to the proposals following pressure from a Member State, which is not enough in the current changed circumstances, according to the industry.