Glassmakers join call urging ministers to align industry, energy and climate policies

The European Container Glass Organisation (FEVE) and Glass Alliance Europe, along with key industry organisations such as the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), joined more than 130 chief executive officers (CEOs) from the manufacturing industry last week in calling to streamline climate and energy policy towards growth and jobs.  “We, the undersigned CEO’s of Europe’s major manufacturing industries, call upon the Heads of State and of Government to adopt a set of measures for Europe to align the EU’s industry, energy and climate policies and to reach the EU’s objectives for a low-carbon, globally competitive European industry, in a way that guarantees regulatory stability, consistency and predictability for industrial investment, innovation, growth and jobs in Europe,” the 27 February manifesto makes clear.

The Manifesto signed by 137 CEOs representing the EU’s manufacturing industry was published by the International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC) Europe on 27 February.

“This initiative, representing more than 1 million direct jobs from various sectors and countries all over Europe is exceptional,” explains Fernand Felzinger, IFIEC Europe President. “It can only be explained by the severity of the crisis impacting the EU 28 manufacturing industry.”

IFIEC says that the analysis of energy prices and costs in Europe released by DG Energy on 22 January confirms that, “EU industry does suffer from an important disadvantage in total energy and climate costs in comparison with competing regions of the world,” for example in that energy prices are two to three times higher in Europe than in the US. This leads to significant changes in the economic structure and have far-reaching effects on investments, production and trade, the Federation says.

IFIEC Vice-President Peter Claes says it is possible to combat this trend, as “regulatory costs (subsidies for renewables, taxes, and grid costs) are among the main reasons for this widening price gap.” Claes says that these surcharges result from public policy, not from market movements. “These ever increasing surcharges create an unprecedented burden for manufacturing industries which cannot pass through these costs to their customers,” said Philippe Darmayan, the CEO of Aperam, a global leader for stainless steel and a large power consumer. “There is no other solution than allowing full offsetting of these costs.”

The situation for natural gas is more complex since the main solution stays in external suppliers’ hands. The manufacturing CEOs say that implementing the internal energy market and diversifying supplies, including indigenous production, is an “absolute necessity”.

“Ignoring the shale gas option would be a big mistake,” Steinar Solheim, IFIEC’s Chair for Gas, says further

“The Council has to set the course towards cost-competitive and secure energy. This is the number one priority for Europe’s energy-intensive industries,” Hubert Mandery, Cefic Director General, adds

IFIEC Europe says that “EU’s emerging climate policy measures really matter for the future of the companies signing the manifesto – but there lies the other root cause for increasing cost disadvantages with major competing regions.

“The EU must give industry a clear signal that highly efficient industrial production is welcome and encouraged to grow within the EU, also in future,” says Volker Schwich, President of VIK, the German member federation of IFIEC.

“We urgently need concrete measures to enable the manufacturing industry to grow in Europe.”

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