Dhe Saarland is calling for federal aid for its troubled steel industry. Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) calls for billions in aid. The politician in a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel (also CDU) describes the steel production of the future as a key question of economic stability. "Therefore, I urge you to support the Saarland steel industry." The production of clean and innovative steel products "Made in Germany" must be maintained. "We must not allow a migration of steel production to other countries with less ecological and social standards," he warns.
The head of government in Saarbrücken seeks to join forces with colleagues from the other states concerned to increase pressure on Berlin. It is fueled by the global overcapacity, dumping and subsidy practices of third countries, American punitive tariffs and related trade diversion, as well as lower demand for the auto industry. This is already leading to significant production declines, writes Hans. He referred to the two Saarland steel companies Dillinger Hütte and Saarstahl, which had announced a reduction of approximately 20 percent of employees in the next three years. Added to this would be the threat of additional burdens for climate protection and energy consumption.
Disservice to climate protection
When asked how high the aid should be according to his ideas, said the CDU politician in a conversation with the FAZ: "If we have 40 billion euros to get out of coal for climate protection reasons, we also have a billion amount, which is not double-digit is to raise our steel industry to a climate-neutral future. "
The national climate package is correct in itself, but complicates the situation of the steel industry. Energy will become even more expensive. "If we do nothing, it will be produced elsewhere – in case of doubt where it does not matter how much carbon dioxide is blown into the air. Then you have done climate protection a disservice. "
He believes that European certificates trading will lead to massive additional costs for steel companies if pollution rights are further tightened. "At the same time, steel comes at dumping prices," he warned. Even today, the amount that is imported is greater than the amount produced in Germany.
The Saarland advertises to support the steel industry in much the same way as the energy industry. He referred to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which has helped produce more and more electricity with the help of wind and sun. "If we want green steel, we have to support it." His goal: to make steel production more climate-friendly with new processes such as the conversion to hydrogen. The task is enormous: "If we wanted to cook steel today with hydrogen instead of coke, then we needed the complete renewable energies in Saarland alone." This shows that there is still room for further research to make this more efficient. "We know that we need to move our blast furnaces until the mid-twenties."
As the Prime Minister further explained, steel and car are the main pillars of Saarland's industry. "The car crisis and sinking steel sales hit us twice and thus more than other regions in Germany," he emphasizes. "What is happening now in the Saarland, can soon make itself felt in many other regions of our country." High-performance steel is systemically relevant for Germany. "We must have an interest in preserving this important industry for us." Once the steel is gone, it will have significant implications for other industries as well. "This would be catastrophic for the national economy."
In the opinion of Hans, Europe should do more at dumping prices against steel imports from China. After President Donald Trump has raised tariffs to protect American industry, Brussels has followed suit, but that's not enough for the CDU politician: "I'm in favor of the protective measures being tightened." However, he sees himself as having little room for maneuver If you do not want to risk tough countermeasures from Beijing: "It does not help, if in the end no German cars are exported anymore." Therefore, his central approach is: "We have to promote innovation."
(TagToTranslate) Tobias Hans (t) Angela Merkel (t) CDU (t) Saarstahl (t) F.A.Z. (t) Steel industry (t) Steel