Industry Info

Aluminium industry urges EU to close competitiveness gap

Releasing its 2012 sustainability performance indicators, the aluminium industry urged European policy-makers to address the major competitiveness gap caused by EU policies. At a conference organised by the European Aluminium Association (EAA), industry CEOs presented an Agenda for Action to effectively enable jobs and growth in Europe. The latest sustainability performance indicators published by the EEA show that despite growing demand and continuous environmental leadership, the EU’s production base is now at stake.

“Europe’s aluminium primary production capacity has declined by over a third between 2007 and 2012. This trend will not be reversed unless urgent measures are taken,” EAA Director General Gerd Götz said. “Europe needs to retain its industry to create jobs, foster growth and maintain sustainability leadership”.

The industry’s call for action follows a European Commission study produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) that concluded that EU plants fully exposed to EU policies have become the least competitive globally while assets still operating under historic conditions remain amongst the most competitive. EAA Chairman (Aleris) Roeland Baan argued: “The costs added by EU policies on our industry have no equivalent across the World. Despite its strategic importance, a world-class industry, leading on safety, carbon emissions and recycling is now losing ground in Europe. This competitiveness gap must be decisively addressed, and this is why today we are bringing to the attention of the Commission a constructive Agenda for Action.”

The industry’s Agenda for Action notably calls to acknowledge in policies the case of strategic sectors that are most impacted by EU policy costs and cannot pass on any of these costs in their value chain. This is the case for aluminium, with compliance costs of up to €228 per tonne - when fully exposed to the costs deriving from EU regulation – whilst being reliant on globally fixed prices on the London Metals Exchange.