Economy & Politics

“European policy must not destroy jobs”

While three quarters of the employees of the Liberty Steel Dudelange factory find themselves on short-time work due to the bankruptcy of the company’s main creditor, several MEPs are asking the Commission to intervene, judging that the situation results from the criteria imposed by Brussels.

Jean-Michel HENNEBERT

Jean-Michel HENNEBERT

While three quarters of the employees of the Liberty Steel Dudelange factory find themselves on short-time work due to the bankruptcy of the company’s main creditor, several MEPs are asking the Commission to intervene, judging that the situation results from the criteria imposed by Brussels.

Despite the strong upturn in activity in the steel industry and favorable economic conditions, the Liberty Steel plant in Dudelange and its partner in Liège are slowing down. Two and a half months after the bankruptcy of Greensill Personal-Financial.com, the group’s main creditor, the Luxembourg site remains unable to obtain supplies, due to a lack of liquidity, and therefore lives under direct state infusion. A situation that several EPP MEPs blame directly on the European Commission, accused of having put in place “a competition policy that lacks (…) common sense”.



In the midst of a storm due to the bankruptcy of the main financier of their parent company, the Luxembourg site is operating slowly and a majority of staff find themselves on short-time work, the unions indicate.


Clearly, the Luxembourgers Isabel Wiseler-Lima (CSV) and Christophe Hansen (CSV), but also the Belgians Pascal Arimont (CSP) and Benoît Lutgen (CDH), accuse the European executive of having “obliged and authorized” ArcelorMittal to sell several European sites – including the two twin sites – to prevent the world steel giant from having a dominant position at the time of its takeover of the Italian site of Ilva. A process validated even though Liberty Steel was “dependent on a more than doubtful creditor”, specify the MEPs who note that a generalized bankruptcy of the group “threatens the jobs of 35,000 European workers”.

This is why they are asking the Commission to “straighten out the bar” and “correct the damage resulting from its competition policy” by relaxing the rules in force. In this case, by giving ArcelorMittal the possibility of buying “all or part of the assets in Dudelange and Liège” in order to put in place a European policy which “must create jobs and not destroy them”.


Liberty Steel

Franz Fayot returned on Tuesday to the chamber of the Chamber on the situation of the galvanizing plant a few days after having detailed behind closed doors the situation to the members of the Economy committee. With undisguised concern for the 220 or so employees of the site.


Except that this option seems stillborn, since “the conditions imposed by the Commission during the sale prohibit ArcelorMittal from taking over these assets over a period of ten years”, recalls Robert Fornieri, Deputy Secretary General of the LCGB, majority union on the Dudelange site. According to him, the preferred option would be an acquisition of a stake by the State via SNCI alongside another industrial partner “since several of them had shown interest during the sale”, specifies the unionist without advancing. name.

As a reminder, Franz Fayot (LSAP), Minister of the Economy, described in the Chamber the situation of the Dudelange plant as “serious and tense” and had pledged “not to drop the Dudelange site” . Without specifying the horizon of this support.


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