European industry feels the heat of high oil prices
European industry is suffering under soaring energy costs. Profit warnings are becoming more common and industry leaders predict plant closures and job losses may follow.
Companies say they are doing all they can to improve their game but want government help.
Britain’s Castle Cement, part of Germany’s Heidelberg Cement, is a case in point. Its cement furnace in Stamford, England, is replacing much of its coal with alternatives — tyres, bone meal, paper — as $140 a barrel oil sends all fuel costs skyrocketing.
Industry says tax cuts and energy market reform is needed. Big energy users also want an easing in EU plans for tough CO2 emissions cuts, arguing the measures will simply put them out of business and shift production to places like China which have less efficient and more environmentally damaging production processes.
So, are governments doing enough to support the continent’s core industrial base?
Should certain sectors of the economy be singled out for special support?
Will planned European CO2 cuts, which are not matched by the U.S. and China, wreck the continent’s industrial core without helping the environment?