Matovič sees decarbonisation as the only way to secure the future of Košice steelmaker

The finance minister says the plant could possibly be helped through the recovery fund, but a coalition member disagrees.

U.S. Steel in KošiceU.S. Steel in Košice (Source: TASR)

The decarbonisation of production is the only way to secure the future of the U.S. Steel plant in Košice, said Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) after returning from his trip to the United States.

He travelled to Pittsburgh where he met with the representatives of the steel corporation on May 12, later writing about it on Facebook.

“If we want to secure the future of the Košice plant, there is no other way than decarbonisation,” Matovič told journalists on May 14, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

This would entail the exchange of the currently used furnaces with electric furnaces, resulting in a more than 80-percent drop in CO2 emissions. Huge investments, totalling €1.5 billion by Matovič's estimations, would be required. It is thus important to discuss potential financial assistance for the plant, he continued.

Higher demand extends work time at USSK Read more 

“The question is whether this crucial producer and employer in eastern Slovakia should receive aid from the recovery fund,” Matovič said, as quoted by SITA.

The Košice plant considers talks constructive

The steelmaking industry has reported the historically worst economic results in the past two years, said Martin Klimek, state secretary (deputy minister) of the Finance Ministry. He noted that the U.S. Steel Corporation reported a loss of nearly $1.8 billion, which is close to 20 percent of its revenues before 2020.

“The situation is very unfavourable, and many steelworks are closing down or are forced to declare bankruptcy,” Klimek said, as quoted by SITA.

He considers the US firm's decision on whether to concentrate on its activities in the American market or continue its activities in the EU important.

Ján Bača, the spokesperson of U.S. Steel Košice, considers the talks with Matovič constructive and beneficial.

Manufacturing companies top the list of biggest receivers of direct pandemic aid Read more 

“The representatives of U.S. Steel were particularly happy about the Slovak government's will to find practical solutions for our joint tasks to improve the environment, climate, business and economy,” Bača said, as quoted by SITA. “We’re looking forward to continuing in our efforts.”

Sulík: It was a mistake

Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) disagreed with Matovič’s trip to Pittsburgh.

“I don’t want to comment on it because I regard the trip as a mistake[…] in this phase of the recovery plan talks, but I don’t want to say more now,” he said during a talk show on Radio Expres.

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