Amid the energy crisis in Europe, industry association Glass Alliance Europe has welcomed the recognition by European Commission President Von der Leyen that ‘targeted support is needed (…) like the glass makers across Europe’ as part of her State of the European Union speech.
It said the crisis dangerously weakens Europe’s glass industry with a suspension of activities announced by some companies.
It needs to remain viable to continue producing in Europe all glass products essential in many critical value chains such as the food, beverage, building and infrastructures, transport, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy sectors.
Bertrand Cazes, Secretary General of Glass Alliance Europe, said: “It is encouraging for all actors in the glass sector to hear that, at the highest political level, there is a recognition that the glass industry needs to access energy in a continuous manner and at affordable costs.”
Energy costs represent a substantial share of glass production costs, yet the glass industry is so far entitled to no EU dedicated support scheme, he added.
The announced ‘targeted support’ should therefore be put in place rapidly and be designed to respond to the needs of the glass industry.
Urgent and decisive actions to curb the price of natural gas are needed to provide relief to the glass industry, which is dependent on natural gas for heating its furnaces. ‘Without mechanisms that drastically slash the price of gas, terribly harsh months ahead are to be feared in the glass sector.’ adds Bertrand Cazes.
Glass Alliance Europe also calls on the European Commission to revise two state aid guidelines regimes, which it could do almost immediately:
• The guidelines on ‘indirect costs under the EU ETS’, to make sure that all glass sectors become eligible for indirect costs compensation for their soaring electricity costs.
• The guidelines on the ‘temporary crisis framework’, to extend their validity, increase the financial cap, and to relax qualification criteria, which dangerously delay the granting of support to industry.