With the call for the re-activation of the Technical Working Group (TWG) in July 2018, the revision of the BREF (Best Available Techniques Reference Document) for the Smitheries and Foundries was launched. The TWG is the crucial panel in the BREF review process. In order to represent the interests of the European foundries in this revision adequately, the European Foundry Association (CAEF) participates in the TWG with 17 members. Furthermore, the TWG consists of delegations from the European Member States, the Industry, the EU Commission as well as European Environmental Associations.
Against the background of the long-lasting processes during the past, the European Commission has drawn up new guidelines to speed up the BREF review this time. Before the official Kick-off Meeting, certain work is carried out within a so-called front-loading procedure. Unlike the “Wish List” used in the past, in which the members of the TWG could formulate their revision requests related to the BREF contents, now "Initial Positions" are developed by the BREF authors and submitted to the TWG for comment. These “Initial Positions” include proposals and requests for potential adjustments to an existing BREF; for example regarding the scope and structure of the document, relevant Key Environmental Issues (KEI) and organization of data collection as well as potential BAT candidates.
From CAEF´s point of view, the SME structure of the foundry industry has to be taken into account during the whole BREF revision activities. Thus, the European Foundry Association welcomes the more focused approach as required by the EU Commission. Only processes and parameters being definitely of environmental relevance should be object of the review. In particular, some of the proposed KEI have been seen very critical by the Foundry Industry.
So, CAEF does not consider requirements for energy or material efficiency as being reasonable. Due to the huge variety of applied materials, technologies, processes and manufactured products, the setting of certain limit values can never satisfy the individual conditions of our companies.
In March, the assessed items of the Initial Positions had to be submitted to the Seville Bureau. They form the basis for the Kick-off Meeting scheduled for September 2019.
Current Situation and Perspectives under Pressure
The European Foundry Industry Sentiment Indicator illustrates that the foundries are increasingly confronted by a downward trend. This development is similar to the declining tendency of the whole industry sector in the Euro Area. After a long-term period of strong growth rates and optimism, the European foundries assess the current business situation to be weaker. But overall, it remains on a comfortable level.
The expectations for the next six months are continuously under pressure due to the suffering of the impact of global uncertainties. Besides the cooling economy and the maintaining trade policy uncertainties, the general conditions have only changed slightly. Although the Brexit has been postponed to October 2019, the final decision and the upcoming developments are completely unclear. As a result, the European foundries look into the future with less confidence.
The FISI – European Foundry Industry Sentiment Indicator – is an early indicator of the European foundry industry performance. It is published by the European Foundry Association (CAEF) every month and is based on survey responses of the European foundry industry. The CAEF members are asked to give their assessment of the current business situation in the foundry sector and their expectations for the next six months. The FISI is the earliest available indicator, providing information about the mood in the foundry industry.
The BCI – Business Climate Indicator – is an indicator published by the European Commission. The BCI evaluates development conditions of the manufacturing sector in the Euro Area every month and uses five balances of opinion from industry survey: production trends, order books, export order books, stocks and production expectations.
Please find the Chart enclosed or combined with additional information at www.caef.eu.