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ArcelorMittal legal action fails

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ArcelorMittal has failed in its challenge against the legality of the Emission Trading Directive (ETDi). The steel giant argued that legislation underpinning the EU’s ETD gave aluminium and plastic industries an uncompetitive advantage over steel.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ), however, found in December that the Directive did not violate the principle of equality by exempting certain sectors from being required to participate. “The Directive establishing a community scheme for greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading does not breach the principle of equal treatment,” the court said. “The difference in treatment caused by the exclusion of the chemical and non-ferrous metal sectors from the scope of the directive may be regarded as justified.” The case was brought by Arcelor’s French subsidiaries in 2005 against the French government, for 2003 rules which enact the Emissions Trading Directive into French law. France’s highest administrative court then sent the case to the ECJ. Non-binding legal advice was given in May 2008 against ArcelorMittal.

CEMBUREAU pointed out back in March 2008 that, if ArcelorMittal was successful in its pursuit of the EU for “discriminatory” air-pollution rules that unfairly target steelmakers, then the entire EU ETD could be declared inapplicable. ArcelorMittal has filed a separate case at the Court of First Instance, directly against the Directive. This was suspended pending the ECJ’s final ruling in this case.