Steel giant ArcelorMittal should postpone any plant closures in Europe until June, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
Speaking at round-table discussions on the state of Europe’s steel industry, the EU’s Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani said: “We want ArcelorMittal to postpone its decision to close sites at least until the EU releases its action plan.”
The firm’s decision to close plants in Belgium, Luxembourg and France has triggered violent protests in those countries. Its loss-making steelworks in Liege are amongst those set for the axe.
Jean-Claude Marcourt, the Industry Minister for Belgium’s Wallonia region said: “For too long, Europe has abandoned its industry… we are going to put concrete measures in place to save our industry.”
But ArcelorMittal executives downplayed any suggestion of a U-turn. Weak demand for steel in Europe has led to too much overcapacity.
Unions argue that the company is to blame for its poor performance.
Nico Cué, a representative from the General Federation of Belgian Labour, said ArcelorMittal neither respects Belgian employment rules, nor basic values.
“They are trying to squeeze out as much as cash as possible so they can invest outside of Europe,” he told euronews.
At the end of January, ArcelorMittal employees staged a ‘Day of Rage’ outside the Walloon parliament in Namur in the French-speaking region of Belgium.
The firm wants to slash more than 1,000 jobs in the country.
Euronews’ Gulsum Alan said the ArcelorMittal crisis has created a shockwave as Europe is already struggling with high levels of joblessness.
The question is whether the company will agree to keep its loss-making operations open until the European Commission makes its proposals, she said.
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Chomsky – a rebel with a cause | euronews, world news
- 3Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation
- 4[LIVE] Germanwings passenger jet crashes in southern France, 148 people on board – authorities | euronews, world news
- 5Europe is ‘bluffing’ over Greece-Russia relations – analyst | euronews, news
- 6French Alps plane crash treated as suicide and mass murder by co-pilot | euronews, world news
- 7Why is Bulgaria the EU’s most unhappy country? | euronews, world news
- 8eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 9Former IMF chief ‘under investigation for money laundering’ | euronews, world news
- 10Greece’s claim for war reparations from Germany explained | euronews, world news
- 11International news | euronews, latest international news
- 12Pope Francis washes Rome prisoners’ feet on Holy Thursday | euronews, world news
- 13ECB chief Mario Draghi unhurt after protest during speech | euronews, world news
- 14International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 15Reaching new heights: Parents in India scale walls to ‘help students cheat’ | euronews, world news
- 16Germanwings press conference mystery: what wasn’t he supposed to say? | euronews, world news
- 17French prosecutor: Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately | euronews, world news
- 18Woman carries can of water on her head along Paris marathon | euronews, world news
- 19[Live updates] France plane crash: damaged black box ‘can provide information’ | euronews, world news
- 20Fighting Boko Haram: Chad aims to ‘destroy’ militant group | euronews, world news