VÍTKOVICE STEEL and other important companies from the Moravian-Silesian Region joined forces to support transformation of the region towards low-carbon economy. On 31 July, seven industrial companies signed a joint declaration at the Regional Governor’s office. This initiative strives to make use of European funding in order to maintain the competitive strength of the regional industry and contribute to the regional development in a "green” way.
The joint declaration was signed by companies Al Invest Břidličná (MTX Group), Bonatrans Group, Brose CZ, Liberty Ostrava, Ostroj, VÍTKOVICE STEEL and Třinecké železárny/Moravia Steel, which initiated it. These companies combined employ over 25 thousand people and their combined annual turnover exceeds 116 billion crowns. With their joint proposals of projects to reduce emissions and support circular economy they want to contribute to more resilient, more technologically advanced region, and support employment.
“Transformation of the traditional industry in order to achieve the EU goals will be extremely challenging. We are glad that the European Commission realized it and tries to help regions as well as companies that are based on traditional industry. Steel is a strategic raw material, crucial for the development of every economy, and also very environmentally friendly as 90% of it is recycled back to the economy as scrap. We have our company development plans ready in order to reduce the production of greenhouse gases, however, they are very capital intensive therefore impossible to implement without subsidies. I expect that the newly announced support will go this way and it will enable implementation of environmental measures without any negative effect on the production economy," says Radek Strouhal, VÍTKOVICE STEEL CFO and BOD member, who signed the declaration on behalf of the company.
This initiative is supported also by the Regional Governor Ivo Vondrák, who recognized the willingness of traditional industrial companies to modernize themselves and reduce their carbon footprint. With this initiative the industrialists follow up on the Paris Agreement conclusions and European Green Deal goals, approved by the European Commission. They also want to deal with the COVID-19 impact on industry and recover the economy fast.
The Moravian-Silesian Region is one of the 41 European regions whose economy is the most dependent on coal and fossil fuels. Up to a total of 150 billion crowns could “flow” into the Region. The Region could receive up to 45 billion crowns from the Just Transition Fund, another 15 billion from the new Modernization Fund, and up to 70 billion crowns from the traditional operational programs; the Region is going to get also other funds thanks to additional support associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade presented the opportunities at his meeting with the companies. He pointed out that it was high time to start to intensely prepare the projects because only the quality and meaningful projects would be supported.