Czech Republic asks to keep Russian steel plant out of EU sanctions – Politico

The government of the Czech Republic has asked the EU countries not to include the Russian Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant (NLMK) in the list of EU sanctions, as the country depends on the import of its products for its automotive industry.

Source: Politico media outlet with reference to three European diplomats, writes European Pravda

Details: The Czech Republic is one of the leading European centres of automotive production, including Volkswagen Group and South Korean Hyundai Motor. Manufacturers need steel to make a large part of the car body and many other components.

The plant in Novolipetsk, one of the largest in the Russian Federation, is a key supplier of steel to the Czech Republic. It produces almost all of its flat and long-rolled products in Russia, but nearly a quarter of its rolling operations are located in Europe, including Belgium, France and Italy.

The Czech Republic is asking to postpone the end of the transition period of the ban on the import of NLMK products in order to be able to continue using Russian steel from the end of 2024 until 2028. Among the reasons, according to Politico, is the rise in energy prices, which has made it difficult for European companies to find alternatives to Russian steel products.

It is currently unclear whether other EU countries will support Prague's request, but in Wallonia, Belgium, whose investment fund owns 49% of NLMK's subsidiary in the country, has made such a demand.

It should be noted that the automotive sector is the backbone of the Czech economy, accounting for about 10% of the national GDP, which is one of the highest indicators in the world.

Background:

  • On 15 November, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, along with the European Commission, presented the member states with a proposal for the 12th package of sanctions against Russia.

  • The proposal provides for the introduction of sanctions against more than 120 individuals and legal entities for their role in undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. These are representatives of the military, defence and IT sectors of the Russian Federation, as well as "other important economic operators".

  • The European Commission also proposes to introduce new import and export bans, as well as measures aimed at strengthening the oil price ceiling and countering the evasion of European Union sanctions.

Support UP or become our patron!