The skyrocketing energy bills are threatening Europe’s metal industry. Smelters have been forced to reduce production, or close their doors altogether, bosses warned Brussels.
The chiefs of Eurometaux (which represents 49 industrial giants and business groups across the continent) stated that most aluminium producers have cut back or shut down completely due to high costs.
As EU energy ministers prepare for price caps to be discussed at a summit this Friday, their warning comes as they warn.
Guy Thiran, the group’s director general, warned that the result could be “permanent industrialisation from spiralling electricity prices and gas prices” without any “emergency EU actions” to save the day.
The letter written by Mr Thiran and Eurometaux president Mikael Staffas said: “The winter ahead could deliver a decisive blow to many of our operations, and we call on EU and Member State leaders to take emergency action to preserve their strategic electricity-intensive industries and prevent permanent job losses.
“In the past month, many companies had to make indefinite closings. Many more are facing a winter of death and destruction for their operations.” Producers are facing electricity and gas prices that are more than ten times greater than last year. This is far higher than the product sales price.
They warned that once a plant has been closed, it can become a permanent situation due to the cost of reopening.
According to the industry group, potential solutions include lower energy prices from fossil fuel-powered generators and loosening state aid rules to help struggling companies. They also suggested that the renewable energy supply could be boosted and taxes and charges for energy would be reduced.
The Czech government called the meeting, as it holds the rotating EU presidency.
Jozef Sikela is the country’s industrial minister and said that he doesn’t want the European Commission’s proposal to cap Russian energy prices on the agenda.
He stated, “It’s not a constructive proposition.”
It is a different way to sanction Russia than a solution to Europe’s energy crisis.
Alternatives include charging less electricity from power plants that do not use natural gas to pass those lower generation costs onto consumers and businesses.
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