Evangelos Mytilineos has blamed the European Union for inaction in the face of the continuous contraction of industrial production due to the war in Ukraine, while the US is taking immediate support measures.
Speaking to CNBC, the president of European metals association Eurometaux also referred to “disharmony in decision-making” within Europe and suggested that all member-states should hold a discussion to find a sustainable solution for the industry.
“Unfortunately, Europe seems at odds especially after the war in Ukraine. There are disagreements everywhere – at the moment we have a huge disagreement between France and Germany about the future of energy legislation and the energy system in Europe more broadly. This is spreading everywhere, as each country is ‘doing its own thing’ and Europe, specifically Brussels, is doing nothing,” said Mytilineos.
He also pointed to the risk of deindustrialization Europe faces due to competition from countries such as the US, which have measures to support the energy transition of their businesses.
Talking about the aluminium sector, he said that from 5 million tons it has come down to 2.5 million tons and is still falling. At the moment there is production coming from Russia, India and the Middle East. It replaces lost production in Europe. But it’s not just aluminium. It is also zinc, copper and nickel that need a lot of electricity to produce, Mytilineos said, and estimated that all these industries will move to places where they can secure cheaper electricity and more raw materials.
“Europe has very few raw materials and has the most expensive energy of all industrial centers in the world. Including of course the Far East, the US and the Middle East. Well, Europe must bounce back, but to do that we must agree in Brussels, as one country alone cannot do anything,” he said. He criticized the “bargain” between France and Germany for the use of nuclear energy and their disagreement regarding the future of energy legislation and the overall energy system in Europe.
Mytilineos also expressed the industry’s disappointment at the EU’s rejection of the Green Pool plan, which is a combination of decarbonization and support for energy-intensive industries.