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Eder Considers European Manufacturing Industry is at a Disadvantage

Published: February 5, 2011; 12:07 · (Vindobona)

For the CEO of the Austrian steel company voestalpine, the European manufacturing industry is at a disadvantage, despite innovative leadership.

Eder Considers European Manufacturing Industry is at a Disadvantage / Picture: © Voestalpine AG (Blast Furnace A)

Wolfgang Eder, the CEO of voestalpine calls for more self-confidence in the European manufacturing industry, "The European manufacturing industry is still the best in the world. We are innovative. Competitors in the U.S. are in part 30 years behind us. Almost everybody lives off our know-how. We only do not talk about it or say so very rarely".

This absence of self-confidence undermines competitiveness, and besides,  the European environmental and energy policy threatens its own manufacturing industry. Eder criticizes the self- commitment of the EU to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 to 35% instead of 20%. By this measure, the EU will lose competitiveness because the rules outside Europe are handled in a more generous way.

A reduction of 20% would have been manageable for Eder, a bigger restriction turns into a real problem however. This plan is technically not feasible for voestalpine’s CEO, forcing the manufacturing industry to purchase more emission certificates

For his own group, Eder calculates certificate costs for € 130m since 2013. As a result, the profit will be reduced by one sixth, which in turn will cost jobs. The CEO points to the relevance of the company: 60,000 Austrian jobs are dependent indirectly from voestalpine over its suppliers. Eder asks himself whether this "deindustrialization" makes sense.

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