In his first interview since stepping down as the European Union’s chief competition economist, Pierre Régibeau told Belgian newspaper L’Echo that some alarms about European deindustrialization were unjustified
If European heavy industry disappears, “so be it, because it has to. What’s the point of producing basic steel here if we can buy it three times cheaper in Indonesia?” Régibeau said, answering a question about the major concerns of steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.
However, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas isn’t buying it.
Schinas firmly rejected the idea: “Such views may make for good August headlines, but under no circumstances represent the EU Commission policy,” he wrote in an X (formerly known as Twitter) post Monday. “It took a pandemic and now a war to realise that Europe needs a solid industrial capacity and strategic autonomy,” he wrote.
Régibeau labeled some heavy industry’s complaints “pure lobbyism,” pointing out that ArcelorMittal “applied for massive state aid last year.”
France recently got EU approval to invest €850 million in supporting the decarbonization of ArcelorMittal’s production. An additional €280 million in state aid was authorized to decarbonize its Belgian plant in Ghent, and €460 million for the plant in Gijón, Spain.
This article has been updated.