Daily press, 2014-06-30, 10:12 am
Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel visits ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg
Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, has paid a visit to ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg. In a meeting with the management team of the Group’s steel division the Vice Chancellor was briefed about the current situation in the industry and the effects on ThyssenKrupp. In light of the current discussions surrounding the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and energy costs, Andreas Goss, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, stressed: “If energy prices in Germany continue to increase, we will not be competitive on a European and international scale for much longer.” In connection with the discussion about additional burdens for in-house electricity production due to the EEG, Goss said: “For decades we have been converting the process gases that occur unavoidably in steel production into electricity in our power plants in Duisburg, thereby also protecting the environment. This sensible use of resources must not be burdened with additional costs.”
“Our steel plants operate with high energy efficiency and under severe price pressure. We cannot afford further burdens – whether from the EEG or the upcoming reform of the emissions trading system,” added Dr. Herbert Eichelkraut, Chief Operating Officer of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. He criticized sharply the current moves by the EU Commission regarding the planned changes to the EEG: “This only fuels new uncertainties and makes planning for the steel industry almost impossible. This jeopardizes Germany’s competitiveness as a whole.”
In addition, Goss pointed to the importance of the steel industry as the basis for industrial value chains and a guarantor of Germany’s economic success: “Without the steel industry’s numerous innovations, some of which come about through close cooperation with other sectors, the successes of the German automobile and engineering industries, for example, would not be possible.” ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe also provided work for some 26,300 people and apprenticeships for more than 1,000 youngsters, in excess of its own requirements, said Thomas Schlenz, CHRO of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe.
Federal Minister Gabriel learned about the innovative materials and products that are developed at ThyssenKrupp and used for example in the energy sector and car production: “ThyssenKrupp’s innovations prove how important research and development is and that steel is a modern material that forms the basis for energy- and resource-efficient products.” On the question of energy prices Federal Minister Gabriel commented: “The amendment of the EEG creates a dependable and ambitious expansion path for renewable energies. At the same time we have succeeded in maintaining cost relief for energy-intensive industries, giving businesses planning and investment certainty. Germany is showing that it is possible to combine climate protection and economic success.”