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.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Now is ‘right time’ for Catalonia independence vote, says Mas | euronews, world news
- 3Vatican rocked by another paedophilia scandal | euronews, world news
- 4Two container ships collide on Egypt’s Suez Canal | euronews, no comment
- 5British Muslims’ message to ISIL: Not in my name! | euronews, world news
- 6Sweden becomes first European nation to recognise Palestine | euronews, world news
- 7Algeria: ISIL offshoot releases video threatening French hostage Hervé Gourdel | euronews, world news
- 8Emma Watson threatened with naked photos leak after UN equality speech | euronews, world news
- 9How nasheeds became the soundtrack of jihad | euronews, world news
- 10International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 11Iceland volcano ‘pollutes Paris’ | euronews, world news
- 12Ebola: Six new suspected cases in Spain | euronews, world news
- 13European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 14Learning through “serious games” | euronews, learning world
- 15euronews speaks to Ban Ki-moon ahead of key UN and climate change talks | euronews, the global conversation
- 16Mike Tyson: ‘You learn humbleness when you get older in life’ | euronews, the global conversation
- 17US delivers technical aid to Ukraine but warns over security | euronews, world news
- 18euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 19Global warming to ‘cause 250,000 extra deaths a year’ | euronews, world news
- 20Battles rage for Donetsk airport despite Ukraine ceasefire | euronews, world news