Procedure : 2014/2976(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0354/2014

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Debates :

Votes :

PV 17/12/2014 - 10.23
CRE 17/12/2014 - 10.23
Explanations of votes

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 European Union (2014/2976(RSP))

Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Evžen Tošenovský, Marcus Pretzell on behalf of the ECR Group

B8‑0354/2014 European Parliament resolution on the steel sector in the European Union (2014/2976(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       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 Commission staff working document of 24 June 2014 entitled ‘State of play on implementation of the Commission Communication Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe of 11 June 2013’ (COM(2013)0407)’ (SWD(2014)0215),

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 22 January 2014 entitled ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’ (COM(2014)0014),

–       having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe(1),

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on the steel industry, and on the restructuring, transfer and closure of companies in the EU,

–       having regard to the question to the Commission on the steel plant Acciai Speciali Terni (AST) in Italy (O-000087/2014),

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

A.     whereas it is in the interest of the EU as a whole to preserve activities that make up its industrial fabric;

B.     whereas the steel industry is essential for growth and prosperity in Europe, and whereas a competitive steel industry in Europe is the backbone of the development and value creation of many other major industrial sectors;

C.     whereas one of the EU’s objectives is to support the steel industry and help to ensure that it remains competitive and responsive to changing conditions in both European and non-European markets;

D.     whereas the EU steel sector is facing strong competition in the global market from non‑EU countries that are bound by different regulations and standards, and whereas it is also facing difficulties in accessing raw materials, which often come at a higher cost than for its competitors;

E.     whereas the steel industry in Europe is facing significant structural challenges, weak demand, overcapacity, continuing concerns over high energy prices, and the impact of the emissions trading system (ETS) and other burdensome legislation;

F.     whereas the EU steel industry is a major employer, accounting for 350 000 direct jobs and several million more in related industries;

G.     whereas in recent years the steel industry has faced challenges in terms of restructuring and industrial mergers;

H.     whereas in recent year, the steel industry has significantly modernised plants with state‑of‑the‑art technologies, thus drastically reducing emissions;

I.      whereas the harsh economic climate has created enormous social hardship for the workers and regions affected, and whereas those companies involved in restructuring should act in a socially responsible manner as far as possible, as experience has shown that successful restructuring requires sufficient social dialogue;

J.      whereas high-tech industries, such as the steel sector, offer a crucial route to regaining competitiveness and growth, and whereas efforts must be made to ensure that they continue to operate efficiently within the EU;

1.      Requests that, in the short term, the Commission provide a clear picture of the steel industry in Europe, including as regards the major changes that are occurring; stresses that it is important for all stakeholders, including the Member States and the Commission, carefully to monitor ongoing developments in order to improve resilience, with the aim of safeguarding the industrial heritage and the workforce concerned;

2.      Recalls that the Commission is entitled, following the expiry of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, to address the economic and social impact of developments in the European steel industry;

3.      Calls on the Commission, therefore, to produce a strategy containing medium- and long‑term initiatives to support and boost the competitiveness of the steel industry;

4.      Believes that the Commission needs to give greater importance to industrial policy and the necessity to revive the competitiveness of European industry in light of the challenges it faces on the global market;

5.      Believes that much of the European economic recovery will depend on a stronger manufacturing industry, in which steel plays a key role; believes that this will require substantial investment in research and innovation in order to improve products, efficiency and processes;

6.      Urges the Commission to consider dedicating a significant part of its EUR 315 billion investment plan to viable long-term infrastructure projects, and to innovation in respect of large-scale industrial projects, including energy efficiency and low-carbon projects, which could also give a significant boost to demand for steel in the EU;

7.      Acknowledges the steel industry’s struggle for sustainability and environmentally friendly steelmaking;

8.      Believes that while the industry’s problems stem from falling global demand, overcapacity and high energy prices, an inflexible regulatory environment has prevented it from responding rapidly to market developments, which has served to further compound its difficulties; believes, in this connection, that legislation, such as that on the ETS, needs to be future-proof in order to take account of the latest developments in technology and to enable benchmarking of the most innovative plants and of advancements made by the industry;

9.      Notes with regret the infrequency of the meetings of the high-level group on steel; considers it essential for regional and local authorities in areas in which steel companies are based to be closely involved, facilitating and encouraging the participation of all stakeholders in order to promote cooperation and exchanges of information and best practice among all the Member States concerned;

10.    Calls on the Commission, therefore, to convene the high-level group on steel as soon as possible, with Parliament’s participation, as has been the case in the past, to discuss the most important and pressing issues, in particular proposed closures or cases of restructuring within the EU; believes that this should be timed in such a way as to enable the work of the high-level group on steel to feed into the discussions of the Competitiveness Council;

11.    Calls on the Commission to organise an annual thematic meeting with other energy‑intensive industries, dedicated for instance to competition, structural reform, energy or climate policies or better regulation, given that many of the steel sector’s concerns are also of relevance to other energy-intensive industries;

12.    Calls on the Commission, as part of its ongoing ‘better regulation’ drive, to ensure that the steel sector is duly considered in all impact assessments and subsequent proposals;

13.    Calls on the Member States to consider introducing measures that can reduce the burden of high energy costs faced by the steel sector in Europe as compared with global competitors; calls on the Commission, furthermore, constantly to monitor concerns over carbon leakage and carbon dumping, and to consider introducing measures that could alleviate such situations;

14.    Urges continued investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) research and development, as significant advances in this area could dramatically reduce overall emissions in the steel sector in the longer term;

15.    Believes that for European steel producers to be competitive on the global market, there needs to be strong competition within the EU internal market, as this will serve as a driver of increased competitiveness; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to maintain its strong stance against possible distortions of competition within the internal market;

16.    Calls on all policymakers, in this connection, to create the right regulatory environment for the steel industry in Europe to flourish, inter alia by adopting measures to improve the skills and flexibility of the workforce, placing stronger emphasis on industrial research and innovation that focuses on both products and processes, and ensuring that steps by industry to make structural reforms are supported, including any social consequences related to such reforms;

17.    Urges the Member States to utilise the policy instruments at their disposal to alleviate the social costs of adjustment following restructuring and closures, and to ensure that relevant skills are retained and developed in order to help provide for the future needs of the industry;

18.    Calls on the Commission to tackle, in a timely and effective manner, steel imports into the EU market which have been illegally subsidised and dumped, and to use, where appropriate, the EU trade remedy instruments in line with existing EU law;

19.    Welcomes and fully supports the Commission action plan for the steel sector presented in June 2013 and the subsequent staff working document of June 2014 on the implementation of that action plan; believes, however, that in view of the continuing difficult economic climate, an annual report on the implementation of the action plan should be presented in order to build on the positive achievements of this past year and to maintain momentum;

20.    Calls on the Commission to support initiatives, as proposed in the steel action plan, that will help drive the sector’s global competitiveness, including policies that help demonstrate the quality of EU steel products;

21.    Believes that part of the plan must drive the European steel industry towards high‑quality and technologically advanced products in order to differentiate it from global competitors, utilising European research, development and innovation capabilities;

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


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0069.

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