Brussels, 24 Jul 2003
The European Commission, the steel industry, steel workers and their unions are to work together to create a technology platform which will define a strategic agenda for reviving steel research in Europe.
A meeting between all stakeholders and EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin took place in Brussels on 23 July, and the concept of a technology platform was approved with the aim of making Europe's steel industry more competitive at a global level.
'After a painful period of restructuring, European steel is today better, cheaper, and cleaner,' declared Mr Busquin. 'But today's sector needs to make an extra effort in order to increase its performance and competitiveness again [...]. European research can contribute to winning this bet, but only if all actors from the sector work together.'
The Commissioner also reminded the steel sector that the EU will invest 43 million euro in steel research before the end of 2004. 'This investment could have an important leverage effect if the industry adopts the right approach and coordinates its efforts in a common forum with a shared vision and a clear strategy for the future.'
The steel industry is currently facing a number of new challenges, including competition with third countries and environmental regulations in the context of the Kyoto Protocol.
The aim of technology platforms, proposed by the Commission, is to stimulate dialogue between all relevant parties and to ensure the coordination of all available instruments and resources, including EU programmes, so as to create a critical mass in terms of finance, scientific expertise and technology.
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