Brussels mulls more flexibility on state aid to steel sector

19th April 2016, Comments 0 comments

The EU's internal market and industry commissioner suggested in a newspaper interview Tuesday that Brussels could soften the rules on state aid for the steel sector as it struggles with overcapacity and cut-price competition from China.

"We have to discuss whether we can't be more flexible when it comes to assessing state aid," commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Under existing rules, the EU Commission is compelled to ban member states from helping companies so as not to distort competition.

But given the difficult situation facing the steel industry, Brussels should at least reconsider those rules, Bienkowska argued.

European steelmakers have long been battling overcapacity and cheap prices from Chinese rivals, spurring a number of national governments to press Brussels to erect barriers against Chinese steel imports.

"We can't push the industry any more," Bienkowska said, arguing that Brussels should look for ways to alleviate the burden for European steelmakers.

© 2016 AFP

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