The European chemical sector has issued a “very serious” warning about its slumping competitiveness, but refuses to be alarmist just yet, saying shareholders should not worry, that big industrial groups are now global, and less exposed to Europe.
Lack of access to affordable energy is the key driver behind the slow erosion of competitiveness in the European chemical sector, warns Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, who urges policymakers to reach agreement on a genuine European energy policy.
Heavily-polluting industries are in line for a €5bn handout from Europe’s taxpayers because of the way the EU is measuring their exposure to unregulated competitors outside the bloc, according to an unpublished report prepared for the European commission.
Raising the EU's emission targets for 2030 would threaten industrial competitiveness if they are not accompanied by supporting measures, according to the chemical industry and other energy-intensive sectors, which stepped up their campaign for protective measures in Brussels on Tuesday (9 September).
EXCLUSIVE / European industry has maintained its global market position thanks to relatively low energy intensity levels and high renewables penetration, according to a study into the continent’s competitiveness due to be released by the European Commission as part of its clean energy package today (22 January).
A draft 'EU 2020' strategy proposal has come under attack for failing to offer a road map to green growth, despite rhetoric on the importance of gaining a competitive edge in environmental technologies.
The European Commission closed an antitrust case against E.ON AG Wednesday (26 November) by formally accepting the German energy giant's commitment to selling a fifth of its power generation capacity along with its extra-high voltage distribution network.
Questions are being raised about the quality and effectiveness of evaluating the costs, risks and benefits of the Commission's impact assessment on the third energy liberalisation package, says Jacopo Torriti in a May 2008 report for the European University Institute.
The merger of French energy companies Gaz de France and Suez has created a new national 'champion', triggering accusations of protectionism from some of the country's neighbours. But the Commission expects the new giant to respect its obligations under EU competition law.
The EU's highest court ruled on 17 July that Spain broke EU internal market rules when it insisted last year that all mergers in the energy sector must be pre-approved by its national energy regulator, effectively thwarting a takeover attempt on the national energy company Endesa by Germany's E.ON.
While delegates from over 190 nations meet in Bali to set a negotiating framework for a post-2012 global regime to reduce CO2 emissions, Europe's energy intensive industries have expressed concerns about how they will fare in a new world order with a potentially high carbon price tag.
The European Commission has proposed industrial initiatives and greater research efforts as part of plans to increase the uptake of low CO2 technologies in the EU, but postponed difficult financing questions to next year.
The Commission announced the opening of antitrust procedures on 26 July against the leading French energy company, EDF, and the Belgian branch of Suez, Electrabel - saying that it suspected both energy providers of foreclosure of the Belgian and French electricity markets.
Responding to climate change is made complex by several sources of uncertainty but greater certainty may come at the expense of policy flexibility, says William Blyth in a June 2007 paper for Chatham House.
With business confidence back at a high, now is not the time for complacency, Commission President José Manuel Barroso told the European Business Summit, announcing that talks on a transatlantic single market will be launched at an EU-US meeting in April.
A high-level group advising the Commission on energy issues has recommended phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, as EU leaders prepare to endorse proposals for a common energy policy at a summit in Brussels on 8-9 March.
The European Parliament says that improving energy efficiency must be at the centre of efforts to fulfil Europe's Lisbon objectives of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world.
The EU's anti-trust chief has reiterated her plea for 'ownership unbundling', defying the French and other critics who claim that liberalisation is increasing the EU's vulnerability to suppliers that are willing to use oil or gas as a political tool.
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