Cefic Europe Energy Policy Energy Policy: Energy Prices are the Achilles Heel of Europe's Industry, Cefic President Says

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Giorgio Squinzi, President of the European Chemical Industry Council Cefic, adressed the Euoepan energy policy at a press briefing in Birmingham. "I look upon energy prices as an Achilles heel of EU industry," said Squinzi in Birmingham.

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Cefic President Giorgio Squinzi comments on energy policy during its spring 2011 economic outlook press conference in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on June 23, 2011. (Picture: Cefic)
Cefic President Giorgio Squinzi comments on energy policy during its spring 2011 economic outlook press conference in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on June 23, 2011. (Picture: Cefic)

Birmingham/England – In his speech Giorgio Squinzi, Cefic's president, invited the EU's politicians and manufacturers to take a global view at the energy policy. "We are in a rapidly globalised chemicals market, and energy policy must reflect that reality," Squinzi said in Birmingham. He added a strong appeal to politicians and manufacturers to put a strong emphasis on research and development as innovations in the industry could help to overcome energy supply and emission problems.

Energy policy has even become more urgent after the earthquake in Japan and the unrest in the Middle East, he said. But also the European Commission's roadmap for a low carbon economy in 2050 adressed the need for action for energy and innovation policy.

Energy at Affordable Prices is Needed to Keep Europe's Production Alive

According to Squinzi, energy and energy prices are the Achilles heel of Europe's industry. This is of even bigger importance for the chemical industry, due to it's high energy consumption. "Europe’s industrial electricity bill is considered higher than that in many developed and developing markets. So to keep production in Europe, energy must be affordable," said Squinzi in Birmingham.

"Base chemicals, energy and feedstock together can exceed 50 per cent of total production cost, and on average amount to 40 per cent of costs," Suinzi said. "The industry, accounts for 12 per cent of total energy demand and for one third of all industrial energy (and feedstock) use in the European Union."

Squinzi Sceptical About Over-Ambitious Emissions-Reduction Plans

Squinzi also addressed the EU emissions policy, as energy use is responsible for much of the industrial emissions. Squinzi is sceptical about plans to cut carbon dioxide emisions by significantly more than 20 percent (the self-set goal of the European union) till 2020. "Data show that global CO2 emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, while emissions in the European Union fell by a remarkable eight per cent.," Squinzi said. "That is an impressive performance by many of Europe’s big energy users. It shows not only that Europe can play a strong part in tackling global warming, but has effective policies in this regard. However, many other states clearly lack both the determination and the policies to make a difference."

"Europe, nevertheless, remains determined to lead the battle. On June 21 EU governments considered a European Commission Roadmap intended to take us to a competitive low-carbon economy by 2050." Squinzi, nevertheless is sceptical if other nations are as eager as Europe to implement drastic cuts in their fossile fuels consumption. "Targeting greater CO2 reductions when other markets outside of the European Union are dragging their feet would be a lonely and bold move. But it would not necessarily be the right one (...). There are sound reasons why we should stick to what industry and policymakers previously agreed."