Eurometaux is leading the development of a Transition Pathway (TP) for the EU metals sector, aligning with the Green Deal and Industrial Strategy to ensure sustainability, resilience, and strategic autonomy. Through collaboration with stakeholders and a comprehensive timeline, Eurometaux aims to articulate policy recommendations and framework conditions vital for the efficient and effective functioning of metals value chains during the twin transition.
• Ensure the sustainability and resilience of the metals sector in the EU by aligning it with the overarching objectives of the EU Green Deal and updated Industrial Strategy.
• Articulate an indisputable case for coherence between all relevant and important EU policy areas and legislative proposals such that the metals-enabled value chains that will deliver the twin transition in many EU industry sectors can function efficiently and effectively in the long term. This requires predictability for investments, legal certainty, the right framework conditions, international competitiveness and a level playing field. In particular, coherence between the energy and climate, trade, (primary and secondary) raw materials, and chemicals policies.
What is the issue?
• Transition pathways (TPs) were born out of the global Covid pandemic when global supply chains were seriously disrupted, and more recent geopolitical challenges have reinforced the need for them. TPs seek to speed up the Green Deal twin transition (green + digital) in fourteen different industrial “ecosystems”, but at the same time realise them in a resilient manner, safeguarding EU strategic autonomy. The metals industry is part of a cluster of pathways for energy intensive industries (EIIs), examples of others include chemicals, paper, cement and concrete. The TP for the chemicals industry (the first in the EII cluster) was published in February 2023.
• Eurometaux and Eurofer have agreed with the European Commission (DG GROW) to develop a “transition pathway” for the combined metals sector – non-ferrous and ferrous. The pathway will be drafted with the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, as was done for the chemicals industry.
• The TP will lay out the main challenges to be faced through the industrial transformation, the investments required to overcome them, and the necessary policy framework and conditions to encourage these investments.
• The work will touch upon policy areas that are already at the centre of Eurometaux’s advocacy, such as climate neutrality, trade, greater circularity, raw materials, the toxic-free environment – but also digitalisation, social aspects and skills.
Why important for the metals industry?
• A healthy and resilient metals sector as a key factor for the EU’s strategic autonomy. Without a healthy metals sector, the EU will never be strategically autonomous with a resilient economy, as it will always be overly dependent on other regions for key technologies and materials. Many metals are now defined as “strategic” and/or “critical” by the European Commission, due to a combination of their high economic importance and sourcing considerations.
• The importance of metals in realising the twin transitions, by enabling many value chains that are indispensable, is generally not understood by many stakeholders.
• The twin transition covers several dimensions for the EU metals industry: climate neutrality and circularity (the green transition), a ‘toxic-free’ environment, and digitalisation (the digital transition). All of these dimensions must be addressed to support the resilience of the sector.
• The metals industry clearly understands that it needs to do more and is greatly determined to be at the forefront of the necessary transformative process required by the twin transition. However, the industry stresses that this journey of transformation depends on its ability to decarbonise and simultaneously stay competitive and to attract global investment.
• The pathway will give visibility to the industry and is an opportunity to educate stakeholders on the enabling role of the sector for a low carbon society and how the sector can simultaneously achieve greater resilience.
Who are we talking to?
• EU Commission (DG GROW is leading but other services are included)
• Member States
• Several NGOs with different points of view (chemicals, climate, environment)
• Trade unions
• The finance community
• Other industry sector associations
Our key messages
• How the metals sector supports high level EU objectives through strategic metals-enabled value chains – the Green Deal “twin transition” and the objective of the updated Industrial Strategy to improve resilience and strategic autonomy.
• What framework conditions are required – coherent across all relevant policy areas – to encourage investments and allow metals value chains to function efficiently and effectively during the long-term transition.
• Metals specificities compared to other classes of materials – and key metals sector characteristics in the EU and global context.
• March to June 2023 – Eurometaux and Eurofer developed a scoping document covering all important aspects to be included in the pathway
• June 2023 – TP scope endorsed by Eurometaux Management Committee, with “champion” nominated
• July 2023 – Eurometaux Task Force established involving broad cross-section of membership, to support the project – first briefing discussion 13 July
• August 2023 – Commission established sub-group of the High-level Expert Group on EIIs, to discuss the pathway – first discussion 7 Sept
• August to November 2023 – drafting of “introduction” section of the TP (background and context); drafting of first half of content (four “building blocks”) which will contain policy recommendations, with stakeholder input
• October to December 2023 – drafting of second half of content (final four “building blocks”) with stakeholder input
• January and February 2024 – creation of KPIs and implementation plan, with stakeholder input
• March 2024 – consolidation of all content
• End Q1 2024 – finalisation of document.