Procedure : 2014/2976(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0353/2014

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PV 17/12/2014 - 10.23
CRE 17/12/2014 - 10.23
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Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the steel sector in the EU: protecting workers and industries (2014/2976(RSP))

Eleonora Forenza, Paloma López Bermejo, Kostadinka Kuneva, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Sofia Sakorafa, Kostas Chrysogonos on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the steel sector in the EU: protecting workers and industries (2014/2976(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the question to the Commission on industrial and employment perspectives in the steel iron industry in the EU: the urgent need to respond to the loss of jobs and key production in Member States (O‑000086/2014),

–       having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, and in particular Articles 22 and 23 thereof on economic and social rights and the right to work,

–       having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which requires both the Member States and the EU to ensure the competitiveness of European industry, and in particular Article 173 thereof,

–       having regard to Article 174 TFEU on economic, social and territorial cohesion, in particular in areas affected by industrial transition,

–       having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Chapter IV thereof on solidarity,

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 11 June 2013 entitled ‘Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe’ (COM(2013)0407),

–       having regard to the recommendations of 12 February 2013 of the high-level round table on the future of the European steel industry,

–       having regard to the Competitiveness Council meeting of 18-19 February 2013 urging the Commission to present an action plan,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas in the last ten years the global situation of steel production has seen changes due to increasing needs and global production capacity;

B.     whereas China is currently the largest steel producer, given that its share in the world market increased from 18 % in 2001 to 45 % in 2011, while the EU-27 share decreased from 22 % to 12 % in the same period;

C.     whereas this situation brought about a loss of around 60 000 jobs in the sector between 2007 and 2013 and a reduction in production from 210 million tonnes to 166 million despite the fact that worldwide production is expected to increase by 118 million tonnes in the next two years;

D.     whereas the steel industry is a core sector for every industrial economy, owing to its connection to and cluster impact on the other manufacturing and technology sectors in every Member State;

E.     whereas, according to OECD forecasts, global demand for steel is expected to grow in the long term, by 2.3 billion tonnes by 2025, mainly in the building, transport and mechanical engineering sectors, and in particular in emerging economies;

F.     whereas the competition between European economies is exacerbating the problem of job losses by concentrating production in just a few areas and Member States, thereby operating against the cohesion principle enshrined in the Treaties;

G.     whereas the biggest multinational steel industries have undertaken several processes of restructuring aimed at increasing their global integration and competitiveness, while no safeguarding measures have been put in place at European level to maintain employment levels and production capacity, either in terms of quality or quantity;

H.     whereas, despite the crisis, the EU continues to be the second largest producer of steel worldwide, supplying a number of industrial value chains closely linked to key industrial sectors in the EU, including the automotive sector, construction, electronics, and mechanical and electrical engineering;

I.      whereas energy represents up to 40 % of total operational costs in the EU steel industry;

J.      whereas energy efficiency and resource efficiency can represent substantial cost savings;

K.     whereas, depending on its position in the value chain, the European steel industry must deal with higher energy prices than most of its international competitors, and whereas, according to the Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050, electricity prices are likely to increase during the period up to 2030, but declining slightly thereafter as a result of adequate infrastructure investment costs;

L.     whereas the CO2 emissions trading system has resulted in the relocation of certain industries in non-EU countries gaining emissions credits, while no effective investments in innovation, energy efficiency or the recycling of secondary raw materials have taken place;

M.    whereas it is vital to consider potential impacts on prices and costs when defining future sustainable policies related to energy and to identify pathways to reduce adverse impacts on both climate change and the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries;

N.     whereas not all producers are adopting the same rules in order to reduce CO2 emissions, and while the average level of CO2 emissions per tonne of steel produced in China is 2.1 tonnes, the average level of CO2 emissions per tonne of steel produced in the EU is 1.5 tonnes;

O.     whereas the impact of a global agreement on reducing CO2 emissions will result in enhanced equal access to the steel industry market, thereby contributing to the environmental sustainability and effective recovery policies thereof;

P.     whereas the changes that have occurred in the global steel market and the structure of the major steel makers require a comprehensive revision of the competition and trade rules in the framework of the EU and the World Trade Organisation, especially with regard to the abuse of dominant positions;

Q.     whereas the failure of the acquisition of Acciai Speciali Terni (AST) by Outokumpu VDM and the return thereof to ThyssenKrupp AG as a result of opposition by the Commission showed the incapacity of EU competition and antitrust rules to support the fulfilment of the objectives set in the EU action plan for steel;

R.     whereas the deal recently reached between trade union representatives and the management of TyssenKrupp AG confirms the value of the strategic choice to keep electric furnaces open and to secure investments to the tune of EUR 400 million in one of the areas of production with the most added value;

S.     whereas at sites such as Taranto, the impact of air and water pollution has brought about an increase of 21 % in the child mortality rate, and an increase in the risk of cancer among males and females of 30 % and 20 % respectively; whereas there is an urgent need to preserve the health and wellbeing of steel workers and that of the local population;

1.      Calls on the Commission to consider the steel industry as vital for the recovery of industry and the manufacturing sector in Europe; believes, in this regard, that it is fundamental that the Commission relaunch and revise its long‑term strategy on the future of the steel industry in Europe, in order to safeguard jobs and workers’ rights, the quality of products and the essential professional know‑how;

2.      Reaffirms the need to preserve the know-how and expertise developed in important industrial districts such as Terni, Piombino, Florange, Krefeld, Bochum, Taranto, and Asturias which will ensure diversification, innovative products, and the maintenance of existing production capacity;

3.      Stresses that only through a constructive dialogue between steel makers, on the one hand, and trade unions and workers’ representatives, on the other, thereby avoiding unilateral decisions by owners, can the right solutions and development strategies be found to ensure the future of entire industrial districts; calls, therefore, on Member States and the Commission to facilitate the participation of management in the steel industries in a constructive dialogue with trade unions and local and national authorities, in order jointly to develop industrial strategies;

4.      Urges the Member States to ensure adequate social protection, working conditions and decent wages, either by means of law or collective agreements, and effective protection against unfair dismissal;

5.      Calls for both the EU and its Member States to ensure that adequate financial funding is available for training and recovery actions to support critical transition periods in the steel industry;

6.      Points out that it is fundamental to avoid importing steel products and raw materials from countries in which production is detrimental to human health, social rights or the environment;

7.      Recognises the need to develop and disseminate best available techniques (BATs) across the EU, supporting wherever possible the replacement of minerals with ferrous scraps, increasing the use of electric arc furnaces (EAFs), and replacing coke coal with gas;

8.      Calls on the Member States to support the safeguarding of the production capacity of the areas of the steel sector with the highest added value and to refrain from any delocalisation efforts that will seriously affect jobs and the competitiveness of the EU;

9.      Urges for the revision of the trade defence instrument policy to disincentivise unfair competition in countries that do not respect the rights of workers and the minimum social and environmental standards necessary to avoid social and environmental dumping;

10.    Urges the Commission to tackle the social dumping which arises from delocalisation in third countries, also by means of a revision of competition rules in order to avoid both delocalisation processes and the worsening of the effects of the crisis;

11.    Underlines the need to update trade policies and antitrust rules in accordance with the new market framework of the global steel industry; requests, therefore, that the Commission revise the rules on competition, taking into account the socioeconomic situations of the Member States;

12.    Insists on the absolute necessity of research, particularly into the issues raised by the steel industry and the techniques it uses, receiving financial support and being further developed with the particular aim of, on the one hand, developing productivity and ensuring that production in the sector continues and, on the other hand, limiting energy costs in the medium and long term, especially in this energy-intensive industry;

13.    Stresses the need to develop European industry within the framework of cohesion policy, in order to upgrade the technical capabilities of all Member States in the steel sector;

14.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

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