EUROPIA welcomes the decision by Commissioner Oettinger to set up a permanent forum for EU refining at the beginning of 2013 and the implication of this forum in the proposed fitness check of the sector.
Brussels, 27 November 2012: Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced during the Conference on EU refining the creation at the beginning of 2013 of a “permanent forum for EU refining” that will monitor and assess the situation of the industry and the outcome of the fitness check proposed in the Industrial Policy Communication published by the Commission in October 2012, which will be undertaken in the first half of next year.
Following the Roundtable on EU refining called by Commissioner Oettinger in May 2012 at which Member States expressed widespread concerns about the “combined impact of policies that affect the EU refining sector and the need to address unintended consequences of EU legislation”, Commissioner Oettinger called a follow up Conference. Entitled the “Future of EU Refining: safeguarding competitiveness”, he invited Member States, Commission, Members of the European Parliament, Industry and Trade Unions to discuss potential paths to address the competitiveness challenges faced by the industry.
Commissioner Oettinger acknowledged the importance of the refining sector for the EU and of its value that extend into the economy. He underlined that one cause of the competitive disadvantage of the European refining industry was more stringent regulatory framework in the EU compared to other regions in the world.
Commissioner Oettinger concluded that therefore the Commission would set up a “Permanent Forum for EU refining” to monitor and assess the situation of the industry, and the outcome of the fitness check announced in the Industrial Policy Communication, in order to tackle EU refining’s international competitiveness.
EUROPIA welcomes the recognition of the interaction between Energy Policy and Industrial Policy, and the resulting cooperation between DG Energy and DG Enterprise in the implementation of the proposed fitness checks as outlined by Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director-General at DG Enterprise. EUROPIA shares the
view that fitness checks are an important tool to achieve the objectives set by the industrial Policy Communication as they should deliver a clear assessment of the combined impact of legislation on the competitiveness of industrial sectors and ensure that the right conditions are put in place to reinvigorate investments. Furthermore, EUROPIA agrees with Mr. Peltomäki that defining the scope of these fitness checks is essential, and that the relevant EU policies impacting refining have to be included.
Chris Beddoes, EUROPIA Secretary General, welcomed the proposed fitness check proposed by the Commission , and acknowledged the support expressed by Member States such as Italy, United Kingdom and France. He underlined that “EU refining has a value for EU economy as a key element of the industrial value chain, therefore the fitness check has to establish the conditions for refining to be fit to invest rather than fit to survive, and should be launched without delay. The fitness check should also be complemented by systematic Competitiveness proofing for planned legislation as well as current proposals currently being implemented such as the Industrial Emissions Directive BREF and the Fuel Quality Directive Art.7A”.
Patrick Pouyanné, President TOTAL Refining & Chemicals, urged the Commission to act by implementing the proposed fitness check immediately and to take action following the outcome of this assessment. He underlined the need to define a favourable investment framework that will allow the industry to invest in
Europe to improve its competitiveness instead of having to invest exclusively to remain in business. He cited for example the current draft refining BREF1 under the Industrial Emissions Directive that might impact heavily the existing refineries.
Ilkka Poranen, Neste Oil Senior Vice-President, Production and Logistics, stressed the need for coherence and predictability of EU legislation in the frame of smart regulation as highlighted by the Commission in their Industrial Policy Communication.
EUROPIA believes that both the fitness check and the permanent forum for EU refining are positive developments to start to address the competitive challenges faced by the industry as a result of EU only actions, and that both should start at the beginning of 2013 and be followed by concrete actions.
Note to the journalists:
Fitness check: Comprehensive policy evaluations assessing whether the regulatory framework for a policy sector is fit for purpose. Their aim is to identify excessive administrative burdens, overlaps, gaps,
inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures which may have appeared over time, and to help to identify the cumulative impact of legislation. Their findings will serve as a basis for drawing policy conclusions on the future of the relevant regulatory framework.