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French Communist Party Obtains Committee of Enquiry on Steel Industry

Translated Monday 28 January 2013, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Acting on a proposal by the communist and left front deputies, the French National Assembly is to decide on the afternoon of Jan. 23 to create a parliamentary committee of enquiry on “the situation of the European and French steel industry in the financial and economic crisis, and the conditions for its safe-guard and development"

This is a hot issue following the ArcelorMittal affair, in which management, after stopping the two blast furnaces in Florange in October, signed an agreement with the government. All of the trade unions say that the agreement is a fool’s bargain which in no way guarantees the future of the steelworks.

In the words of the CGT in Florange, “This is a speculator’s strategy. The only thing that Mittal’s interested in is his profit margin. Halting steel-making is going to make steel scarcer, demand will increase and the company will be able to raise prices.”

For Alain Bocquet, the PCF deputy for the Nord département, who will be the reporter on the committee, “Questioning and reforming the orientations which have pushed European and French steel-making to the edge of the brink, whereas they are the most efficient in the world, and demand for steel is increasing, is a top priority.” The deputy added that “there’s no time to lose” in “investing in and upgrading steel-making, and thus redeveloping the steel industry,” which is “an interface for very diverse and important industrial activities” (the auto industry, transport, the energy industry, the construction industry…).

In a meeting of the economic affairs committee of the National Assembly, all of the parliamentary groups, with the exception of the UMP group, which abstained, backed the creation of this committee of enquiry.

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