• 27 – 29 September 2022
  • Exhib. Centre Düsseldorf

"I am impressed by the optimism and the energy"

September 29, 2022
Düsseldorf

© European Aluminium

"There is always a solution", says Paul Voss, Director General of European Aluminium: ALUMINIUM asked him on the sidelines of the fair what it might look like in the current situation of the industry.

ALUMINIUM: Paul, you have been Director General of European Aluminium since February. A pretty exciting time to start this job?

Paul Voss: I can divide my time in this role into two parts: The very early weeks were characterized by discussions about the energy transition and the role of aluminium in that transition. And the more recent months, where the focus has narrowed to an almost exclusive discussion about the energy prices. It is very difficult to get involved in other discussions when you have this one enormous factor that has not been resolved yet.

 

How great are our problems? Do we have to be afraid? Are you?

Paul: Yes. And I can tell you I’m not a person that is nervous by nature. But our problems are serious – this is really a question of the survival of Europe’s industrial base, with potential implications for the whole society.

 

What could be the path towards a solution?

Paul: There is always a solution, but there is no time to lose. We need a combination of short-term measures designed to stop the bleeding and a system that allows energy-intensive industries to get access to the energy that the need at an acceptable price. I don’t say at the same price that we had prior to this, but one that we can live with.

And beyond that, the energy transition has a huge potential to be a part of the solution. The more we learn to meet the needs of our society and the more we learn to use the resources from here, from our backyard – the less we will need to rely on fossil energies from abroad.

 

"The more we learn to meet the needs of our society and the more we learn to use the resources from here, from our backyard – the less we will need to rely on fossil energies from abroad."

 

Is there anything the industry itself can do right now?

Paul: Yes, and it is as well a combination of short- and long-term measures. In the short-term the European industry can be an important partner for policy makers. We can offer a certain flexibility in the way and the time that we consume energy. But we can also be a participant in this process of decarbonizing. Both by using more renewable energy in our production and by producing our material in increasingly sustainable ways.

 

How do you feel about this trade fair, and is there any contribution an event like the ALUMINIUM can give?

Paul: As you know, this is my first ALUMINIUM fair, and I am generally impressed by the size, by the scale of it – and also by the optimism and the energy in the room considering the difficult circumstances. I do see people who are not trying to manage the decline but who are preparing for a bright future. This really gives me hope.