EUROPIA welcomes the strong support and efforts of the Greek Presidency to create the conditions to boost investment to make energy-intensive industries more competitive and calls upon EU Leaders to define a clear strategy and take concrete actions at the
Brussels, 14 March 2014 – At a the conference on “Restoring the competitiveness on EU Energy Intensive Industries” which took place on the 5th of March under the auspices of the Greek Presidency, Minister for Development and Competitiveness, Kostis Hatzidakis stated that Europe needs more proactive policies to encourage investment in manufacturing and restore competitiveness in energy-intensive industries that have suffered in the crisis.
EUROPIA for the Refining sector and the other Energy Intensive Industries represented at the conference, including Petrochemicals, Steel, Non-Ferrous Metals, Cement and Industrial Energy Consumers welcomed Minister Hatzidakis’ conclusions that “We have to avoid dogmatic approaches. We should not neglect environment but we need to strike a balance. We have to support Europe’s industry; there are no other means to create jobs. Take for example the refining sector: 15% of the refineries in Europe have closed or stopped operating during the period 2008-2013. This is dramatic”
EUROPIA believes that this clear shift in the approach to addressing the competitive challenges faced by EU Energy Intensive Industries is a step in the right direction and urges the Greek Presidency to make the “Industrial Renaissance” communication a priority the coming months and pave the way for the forthcoming Italian Presidency.
EUROPIA supports Minister Hatzidakis’ analysis of the challenges that EU has to overcome to rebuild our industrial base. Europe needs the steel, aluminium, plastics, building materials and transport fuels that energy intensive industries produce; the question is whether they will be imported or made in Europe.
Chris Beddoes, Director General, commented that “Industry matters to the EU. Refining matters: 140.000 highly skilled jobs and €23B of added value to the EU economy. If an industrial renaissance is really going to happen and industries such as refining are to be retained in Europe, EU policy needs a much greater balance of priorities, with competitiveness mainstreamed throughout. The EU should not give up striving to influence the world to take global action on GHG emissions, but it should be realistic about the real effects of unilateral action which could damage its industry”.
The debate following the release of the 2030 Framework in January is still young. The European Council meeting next week, should emphasise a renewed drive for competitiveness, and define a clear strategy regarding industrial policy. Promoting R&D and innovation, skills development and review of overly complex or restrictive legislation are no regret actions, but we urge the Council to be very cautious about hasty introduction of new targets and measures until this debate has fully considered their implications.
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