Theresa Griffin calls for EU Action on Steel Industry

Theresa Griffin MEP voted in favour of a report calling for the development of a sustainable base metals industry in the European Union today.

The report comes at a time when the EU’s steel sector is facing tough challenges in light of falling global steel prices.

Yesterday saw the closure of SSI Steelworks in Redcar, with the loss of 2,000 direct jobs and thousands of jobs in supply chains. However, the steel industry remains a vital part of the manufacturing sector in the UK and the EU.

In the UK alone, the steel industry is made up of over 24,000 individual enterprises which directly employ 330,000 people and is worth in excess of 45.5 billion to the UK economy.

However, UK and EU steel production is in danger of disappearing due to high energy prices, unfair and anti-competitive practices from some international producers, including additional export and procurement support.

Urgent action is needed to address these issues to ensure further job losses are avoided, as well as encouraging the EU’s manufacturing sector to grow again.

Speaking from Brussels, Theresa Griffin, Labour MEP for the North West of England, welcomed today’s report, but called for more action from the UK Government:

“Unsurprisingly UKIP and the Conservatives voted the same way on this and the Tories even followed up their inaction to help Redcar’s steelworkers, by trying to water down this vital report.

“If the EU wants a balanced, healthy economy that is both sustainable and globally competitive we must develop a level playing field in Europe for our industry, and we should not rule out offering financial assistance to this vital sector that is fair.

“Sadly this report has come too late to save the SSI plant in Redcar but it is vital that we take action now to provide a future for the remainder of the steel industry in the UK, and more broadly the EU.”

The report also called for a redesign of the current European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) system, in order to ensure emissions reduce, whilst the EU base metals industry is allowed to thrive competitively.

Theresa added:

“Should the ETS free allowances system not resolve carbon leakage issues for the steel sector, the EU Commission should assess the possibility of developing a carbon border adjustment mechanism linked to the ETS.”