European metals producers say EU energy measures fall short

Credit: Tata Steel

European Union proposals to soften the impact of surging power prices will not shield metals producers from further production cuts and job losses, industry groups said on Thursday.

The European Commission, the EU executive, published energy proposals on Wednesday, including raising more than 140 billion euros ($140 billion) to shield consumers from soaring energy prices and a mandatory target for countries to cut electricity use by 5% during peak hours.

“These measures are not enough and will not save the energy-intensive aluminium industry from further production cuts, job losses, and possibly a complete breakdown,” said European Aluminium, which represents more than 600 plants in 30 countries.

By the end of the year, European production capacity will have been cut in half to 1.1 million tonnes, it added.

“Emergency situations require emergency measures also for industry,” said the European Steel Association (Eurofer).

“The Commission proposals show limited ambition and scope, as they will not reduce energy prices and costs for the steel industry,” said Axel Eggert, Eurofer director general.

The European steel sector produces about 153 million tonnes a year and employs 310,000 workers.

Both groups demanded measures to bring down power and gas costs for industry.

The EU plan did not include an earlier idea to cap Russian gas prices. EU countries are divided over whether broader gas price caps would help or harm efforts to secure winter supplies.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday the executive was “discussing” price caps and had launched talks with Norway on lowering gas prices.

(By Eric Onstad; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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