By Anca Bernovici
Steel-maker Sidex based in Galati (eastern Romania) is very important to ArcelorMittal, which wants to be part of the Romanian industry, the company’s President Lakshmi Mittal told Romanian President Traian Basescu, who greeted him at the presidential Cotroceni Palace Friday. “Sidex is very important to ArcelorMittal and we are determined to be part of the Romanian industry. At the same time, the macro-economic situation in Europe is not very good”, Mittal said in the beginning of the meeting with the Romanian leader. He told Basescu there is a 30 percent drop in the European steel demand as compared to the pre-crisis period. He explained that in the case of the United States, one can speak of a similar demand to the pre-economic crisis time. ”I am glad to see you in Bucharest. It is a pleasure for me to swap views of the steel industry with you”, Basescu said and he pointed out to Mittal that the European Union is still undergoing downturn. Mittal replied: “My comment is that the European crisis can be resolved if we had the United States of Europe instead of the European Council”. Basescu stressed he too backs the idea of the United States of Europe. ”I am convinced of it and I have just discussed the issue with Stratfor (company) chairman and I very much back the idea of the United States of Europe”, the Romanian head of state underscored.
The same day, Lakshmi Mittal also had talks on the price of energy with PM Victor Ponta at Victoria Palace, the PM having previously stated his concern about the position Romania was going to take at the following European Council on energy. According to a Government release, in the context of the analysis of the activity of the ArcelorMittal group in Europe, proposals for improving the efficiency of the activity at ArcelorMittal Galati, including solutions for optimising production costs, were addressed.