POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Leaders send heated letter over steel site sale



ArcelorMittal responded to the European Commission's concerns by proposing to sale a handful of sites, including one in Dudelange Charles Caratini/archives

ArcelorMittal responded to the European Commission's concerns by proposing to sale a handful of sites, including one in Dudelange Charles Caratini/archives

Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister and Dudelange's mayor have sent a letter denouncing European Commission measures which would push ArcelorMittal to sell a Luxembourg factory.

The commission raised concerns about the steel giant’s acquisition of Italian plant Ilva, saying that the merger may reduce competition for a number of flat steel products, leaving customers facing higher prices. ArcelorMittal responded by proposing to sell a handful of sites, including one in Dudelange.

Economy minister Étienne Schneider and Dudelange mayor Dan Biancalana, responded on Monday by sending a joint, open letter to competition commissioner Margrethe Verstager.

In it, the two criticise the commission’s approach, saying it “prevents the preservation of a competitive industrial base in Europe, which is nevertheless necessary for economic growth and job creation. It is recalled that such an industrial base requires the presence in the EU of world market leaders such as ArcelorMittal.” They further add that it could even damage relations between staff, unions and leaders in Luxembourg.

In another letter, Schneider called on CSV parliamentary group president Claude Wiseler to support him in his approach and put pressure on European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who was formerly the Luxembourg prime minister.

Schneider wrote: “Any sales procedure can only lead this site to a period of uncertainty, which may be harmful to the preservation of a traditional industrial base in Luxembourg.”