EU heads of state and government have sent a clear message to steelmakers with energy-efficient installations by agreeing not to impose direct or indirect CO2 costs on the most efficient operators competing in the global market.

However, the EU has agreed on what EUROFER describes as 'an ambitious European Energy and climate policy framework for the period 2020 to 2030, including a CO2 emission reduction target of 43% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels for those industrial sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

EUROFER's acting director-general Axel Eggert called the new framework 'extremely challenging' in the absence of similar constraints 'for our competitors worldwide' but added that EU commitment to set safeguard measures at the level of the most efficient installations is a positive signal for industrial investment, growth and jobs in Europe.

“A profitable European steel industry benefits European society as a whole. It will be able to continue contributing to significant emission reductions in Europe. Our R&D network, our innovations, products and product applications, based on the skills of our employees, are the foundations for a low carbon, energy efficient, and prosperous European society.”

According to EUROFER, "The European Commission should now rapidly implement the safeguard measures and provide sectors at risk of carbon leakage with truly 100% free allocation at the level of the 10% most efficient installations, based on technically and economically achievable benchmarks, and based on real production instead of historic production levels. CO2 costs passed-through in electricity prices must be fully off-set in all member states.

Refering to less efficient operators, Eggert said that they will have to buy additional allowances on the market. "This gives them the right incentive to improve their carbon efficiency to the level of the benchmarks. If they go beyond those benchmarks by developing and applying innovative, economically viable technologies, they may set new, more ambitious benchmarks”, Eggert says.