On Friday July 22, U. S. Steel Košice was visited by nearly one hundred diplomats acting in European Council preparation body (COREPER I), and who were brought to the steel mill by the representative of permanent envoy of Slovakia to EU, Alexander Micovčin. Union member states’ ambassadors spent in eastern Slovakia three days and the visit to out plant was an ideal opportunity to show them life in the steel plant and to discuss with them current problems and challenges we currently face.
Actual situation in European steel sector which is strategic supplier of many industrial sectors, whether construction, automotive, food or of entire European infrastructure, was described for the ambassadors, by vice-president for public affairs, management and business development Miroslav Kiraľvarga. “In past nine years steel sector lost 85 thousand people. We are confronted by unfair business practices outside of EU as well as by high energy prices and additional cost arising from strict environmental policies, something our competitors from third countries do not share. European steel business needs immediate solutions to remain competitive in the future as well,” he concluded.
“Critical remains the application of so called lesser duty rule, which is, among World Trade Organization countries, applied only in EU. In 2013 EC proposed that the rule does not get applied in some cases, however Member states are unable to unite themselves on this particular issue. While countries like Germany or Slovakia support the proposal, Great Britain or Czech Republic block its adoption. I do believe that during Slovak presidency we will finally move forward – to benefit European producers,” he stated.