In the latest episode in an increasingly heated dispute with President Hollande’s Socialist Government, Arnaud Montebourg accused ArcelorMittal, the steel magnate’s group, of resorting to lies, blackmail and threats.
“We no longer want Mittal in France because they haven’t respected France,” Mr Montebourg said.
The flamboyant standard-bearer of the radical Left accused the Mittal family of failing to fulfil its commitment to maintaining employment in France after the €26.9 billion takeover of Arcelor, the Luxembourg-based steel group, six years ago.
We’ve the usual political problem with a declining industry. Is it declining because the capitalist bastards are failing the workers and the State? Or is it because there is an underlying technological issue?
I’ve run through this at length before, here.
Mr Montebourg said that two purchasers had come forward but both wanted to acquire the entire Florange site, which includes a profitable business turning steel slabs into finished sheets. Severstal, the Russian group, is said to be among the candidates.
ArcelorMittal wants to offload the furnaces while keeping the rest of the Florange site, which it says is central to its French activities.
The world still uses steel. Lots of it. But more steel is recycled these days. Thus we still need the parts of the old plants that turn recycled steel into usable steel, those slabs into sheets (rolling mills they’re called). But we don’t need as many blast furnaces, the parts that turn iron ore into steel.
Because the hippies have won and we recycle more.