The Madness of Europe's Industrial Massacre
“Mr Chariman, Mr Commissioner, thank you very much.
“I frequently quote our colleague, Mr Antonio Tajani, who when he was Commissioner for Industry remarked that our energy prices are creating an industrial massacre in Europe, and I trust the Commissioner recognises that. I’ve recently been preparing for a major speech I have to give, so I thought I ought to investigate the extent of this industrial massacre, and in the last fortnight I have had meetings with the European aluminium industry, the steel industry, and the petroleum refining industry, and frankly Mr Commissioner, I am horrified by what I have learned.
“The aluminium industry in Europe has lost 34 per cent of its capacity in the last seven years and forty thousand jobs have been lost. That’s not because demand has reduced; demand is increasing, and being filled with imports which now amount to more than 50 per cent. A similar story in steel where a hundred thousand jobs have been lost, and plant closures have taken place. A similar story in petroleum refining. It is now cheaper to bring in refined petroleum products from Africa or Russia than it is to refine them here in Europe. And again we have refineries closing. Ten thousand direct jobs; forty thousand indirect jobs lost. That is the extent of the disaster we are creating. I am proposing to meet the glass industry, the chemicals industry, and the cement industry, and I have good indications that we will find a similar story.
“So we already have major energy intensive industries that are desperately hanging on by their fingernails, and at the same time, we in this Parliament are debating the Market Stability Reserve, which is a policy whose objective is to increase prices further and make Europe a less competitive place in which to do business.
“And if I may make, Mr Chairman, a final, but absolutely critical point, I have from the petroleum industry a copy of a British Government report, which indicates that the CO2 emissions associated with imported refined petroleum products, are 35 per cent higher than petroleum products refined in the European Union, and anecdotal evidence from the steel industry suggests that a tonne of important steel implies double the CO2 emissions of a tonne of steel made in Europe. So we have a policy which is exporting jobs, exporting investment, exporting manufacturing, and increasing CO2 emissions at the same time.
“Mr Commissioner, if that is not madness, what is?”