"EU must ensure a reliable perspective for climate protection investments"

by David Fleschen

In the run-up to the EU Competitiveness Council next Thursday, November 19, 2020, the European Union's economics ministers have agreed on industrial policy conclusions that also take into account the framework conditions for a transformation towards green production processes in Europe as an industrial location. For Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Steel Federation, a central concern of the EU Council Presidency: "In its conclusions, the EU Competition Council emphasizes the importance of energy-intensive industries for achieving the climate goals. The steel industry in particular, which accounts for around 30 percent of industrial emissions, can make a decisive contribution by switching to low CO2 processes. However, this requires political decisions that give companies reliable prospects".

The central framework conditions for the steel industry in Germany for a transformation towards green steel production are addressed in the German government's "Action Plan Steel". In addition to the establishment of a hydrogen economy, this includes in particular the promotion of investments in climate protection. The demand for green steel from Europe should also be stimulated by corresponding lead markets. "An initiative is now also needed from the EU which takes account of the special challenges facing energy-intensive sectors such as the steel industry. In addition, programs and measures at national and EU level must be closely coordinated to ensure that the funds required for the transformation are used efficiently. This is a prerequisite to successfully tread the path to a climate-neutral economy", Kerkhoff continues.

In this context, the design of EU state aid law plays a special role. The association's president commented: "The current legal situation does not give national initiatives sufficient leeway to promote the transformation in a legally secure and sufficiently comprehensive manner. Investments in climate protection will not be able to take place under these conditions. The revision of energy and environmental aid in the coming year must therefore be used to create the legal conditions for the Green Deal.

Source: WV Stahl, Photo: Fotolia

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