13-12-2012 — /europawire.eu/ — The Commission should ensure that EU state aid rules take account of steel industry needs, keep an eye on threatened plants and deliver its promised action plan to help the sector as soon as possible, says Parliament in a resolution voted on Thursday. EU steel industry jobs fell from 1 million in 1970 to 369,000 in 2012.
The resolution by the EPP and S&D groups, a response to Commission proposals to “reindustrialise” the EU, was adopted with 351 votes in favour, 125 against and 34 abstentions.
EU state aid and competition rules
The resolution calls on the Commission to include the steel industry in its current review of EU state aid rules. The Commission should also ensure that restructuring or relocation of steel plants are carried out in strict compliance with EU competition law and monitor potential abuses of dominant market positions, says the text.
Monitoring threatened steel sites
MEPs call on the Commission to monitor developments at threatened plants in Florange, Liège, Terni, Galați, Schifflange, Piombino, Câmpia Turzii, Rodange, Oțelu Roşu, Trieste, Silesia, Reşiţa, Targoviste, Călăraşi, Hunedoara, Buzău, Braila, Borlänge, Luleå and Oxelösund to safeguard the industry’s competitiveness and jobs. Companies restructuring steel plants should act in a socially responsible manner, with sufficient social dialogue, say MEPs.
An urgent EU action plan for the steel industry
MEPs welcome the Commission’s promise to deliver an action plan for the steel sector by June 2013 but stress the need to have it as soon as possible.
They call on the Commission to extend beyond 31 December 2012 the surveillance system for imports of steel products and steel pipes.
The action plan should also include all available tools, such as increased research, development and innovation, targeted investments by the European Investment Bank, a skills policy, and EU financial instruments such as the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Fund
A strategic sector
The EU exported 33.7 million tonnes of steel worth €32 billion in 2010 and imported 26.8 million tonnes (€18 billion). EU steel industry jobs fell from1 million in 1970 to around 369,000 in 2012.
The sector faces significant drop in demand and tough competition from third countries with different regulations and standards, underlines the resolution. Further decline in this industry would make downstream industries more dependent on third-country imports and thus more vulnerable, MEPs add.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
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