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Base metals (i.e. steel, aluminium, zinc, titanium, copper and their alloys) are essential to the manufacture of electronics, machinery, appliances and motor vehicles, as well as in construction. The European base metals industry is currently under pressure and suffers severe loss in the EU, which leads to negative developments in the overall economy, said ITRE MEPs in the draft resolution voted on Tuesday.

"The steel sector (...) is experiencing its most serious peacetime crisis, resulting in in greater dependency (...) on imports from third countries and in losses of industrial know-how", noted the MEPs, adding that "Europe is rapidly deindustrialising" as regards the processing of some base materials "due mainly to the increase of volatility of electricity prices in several Member States and dumping from third countries". MEPs also note a strong relation between "an ambitious European renewables and energy-saving policies" and the future base metals demand in Europe.

Climate change action
"A redesign of the current ETS system constitutes one of the most pressuring issues in order to ensure the competitiveness of the base metals industry", said MEPs, calling for "the abolition of the application of the cross-sectoral correction factor for the 10% best performing installations faced with carbon leakage."
MEPs emphasised that "international climate action is the best recipe to prevent carbon leakage", therefore there is "a crucial need for ensuring a global binding agreement" at the Paris Convention.
"Border carbon adjustment will allow our industries to fight on a level playing field with global competitors who are not subject to the same environmental rules. Employment, health, environment and competitiveness will all gain from it", highlighted rapporteur Edouard Martin (S&D, FR).

Improved opportunities and fair practices
The future trade agreements of the EU should "include provisions which significantly improve export opportunities and market access for European base metals products", MEPs said, stressing also the need "to create a database that provides information on the carbon content of products made by the base metals industry in Europe."

Combining tradition and innovation
MEPs stressed "the absolute need for investment in research and development to enable Europe to remain a centre of excellence for the production of base metals", calling for "the transfer of skills between generations of workers", encouraging "apprenticeship policy", and maintaining the "industrial know-how and a skilled workforce."