Energy crisis: the EU chemical industry is reaching breaking point

Energy Crisis

The current energy crisis has reached an unsustainable level for the European chemical industry. For the first time ever, the EU imports more chemicals than it exports, both in volume and value, resulting in a trade deficit of € 5.6 bn for the first half of 2022.

This same energy crisis is making a dent in the competitiveness of the chemical industry, which is one of the most energy intensive in Europe, having to compete on the global market with players from regions with more favourable energy prices. The EU chemical sector supplies virtually all other value chains, including food, healthcare, construction and transport, and any disruptions it undergoes endanger the EU’s aim to be strategically autonomous.

We are approaching the point of no-return: if no emergency solution to the energy prices is provided to our sector, we are not far off the breaking point. Hundreds of businesses in the chemical sector are already in survival mode and we have started seeing the first closures. We need action now.” says Marco Mensink, Cefic Director General.

Extra-EU27 Chemicals trade flows
Source: Eurostat and Cefic Analysis, data correct at the date of publication (20 October 2022)

We call on the European Commission and Member States to immediately design and implement closely coordinated pan-European measures to limit the impact of energy prices vis-à-vis competing economies, increase energy supply and incentivise reductions in energy consumption, which both target the upcoming winter and prepare for 2023 and beyond.

Our position paper with proposals on emergency measures may be found here.