Brussels — The state aid guidelines published yesterday by the European Commission are a step in the right direction – yet it is clear that more needs to be done to restore Europe’s industrial competitiveness., according to the European Aluminium Association (EAA). Electricity is a crucial cost factor for the aluminium industry. Due to its global pricing system, the important increase of the cost of renewable energy surcharges and of other environmental levies has become a major detrimental factor for the competitiveness of the whole aluminium value chain in Europe.
European Aluminium Association Director General Gerd Götz commented: “EAA welcomes the sectoral approach pursued by the European Commission, acknowledging that some sectors are at a substantial cost disadvantage as compared with global competitors. Clarity and balanced rules across EU Member States were also needed. We regret however that the new guidelines still enforce additional burden to the industry. The state aid rules must now be accompanied by appropriate and long-term compensation measures for all costs related to climate and energy policies, also beyond 2020”.
Eurometaux: Encouraging steps towards EU reindustrialisation
According to European Association of Metals Eurometaux, the revised EEAG adopted by the European Commission sets a foundation for state aid in energy and environment for the period up to 2020. They are encouraging steps towards Europe
reindustrialisation goal, even though they fall short of providing a full remedy for the competitiveness impacts of climate and energy policies on EU electro-intensive industries.
At this occasion, Oliver Bell, president of Eurometaux, said: “We welcome the positive attitude from the Commission towards lowering the cap of the minimum payment to finance renewable energy sources. Non- ferrous metals are globally priced, electro-intensive commodities, without the possibility of passing on additional costs. Even with the new guidelines, the industry’s global competitiveness will worsen.”
A precondition for new investments
Guy Thiran, DG of Eurometaux added: “Our industry continues to support ambitious climate and energy policies provided that they are accompanied by effective and long-term compensation measures for related electricity and CO2 cost increases, also post 2020, in the absence of a global-level playing field. This is a precondition for new investments in our industry, delivering innovative low carbon products and solutions, contributing towards the transitions to modern society.”
As a next step, Eurometaux is calling on the policy makers and the Commission to assure that the implementation of the new guidelines goes hand in hand with the 2030 Energy and Climate framework. “Only sound alignment between the EEAG, adequate compensation measures for high electricity cost at EU level and carbon leakage protection mechanisms in the 2030 Climate and Energy package as well as enabling conditions for long term energy supply contracts, can ensure sound transition towards a low carbon economy, by keeping primary industry, its industrial value chain and jobs in the EU,” Oliver Bell concluded.
Sources: European Aluminium Association (EAA) / European Association of Metals (Eurometaux)