UKIP Continues to press for release of Mittal papers

From: UKIP
Published: Wed Oct 26 2005

UKIP Leader Roger Knapman MEP said he is 'most concerned' that documentation has not been provided by the British government, following a Freedom of Information Act request to 10 Downing Street, and voiced growing concern over the roles of EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy in past and current deals involving Mr Mittal.

He suggested that the involvement of two Commissioners makes it imperative that the EU should act to release documentation rapidly to ensure that the deals were 'transparent and above board', and made it clear that further delay would 'make it appear that Mr Mandelson and Mr McCreevy had something to hide'.

Mr Knapman also raised concerns that recent acquisitions by Mr Mittal 'appeared to have been almost entirely financed by public money', and questioned whether the European Commission was essentially financing competition to domestic steel industries across the European Union.

He said that purchases by Mr Mittal in Kazakhstan, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Serbia, Romania, South Africa and Mexico were all at least partly financed by money provided by taxpayers via the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) or the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank.

Meanwhile, the collapse of Mittal-owned Irish Steel in 2001, left taxpayers in the Irish Republic with a $57million bill after the company was folded just weeks after its agreement with the Irish government, which had sold him the loss-making company for IR£1, ended. At the same time, the EBRD was in the process of lending Mittal $70m to purchase state-owned Sidex of Romania, following the intervention of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At the time of the collapse of Irish Steel, Mr McCreevy was the Irish finance minister.

Mr Knapman said that he would use a speech in Strasbourg on the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to warn that their state steel industries, both of which belong to Mittal Steel, would find themselves in a 'precarious position' after accession, when they would have to try and compete on price with the Balkan and Kazakh steel industries, which Mr Mittal also owned.

Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact

Roger Knapman MEP, 07890-010919

Mark Croucher, UKIP Press Office, 07960-584161

Mr Knapman's speech is below:

"The choices facing Romania and Bulgaria today are simple. Will they compete with the economies of Western Europe on the basis of skills, or with Turkey on price?

A practical example would be the steel industry. In Ireland, state-owned Irish Steel was sold to Europe's favourite steel producer, Mittal Steel, current owner of the Romanian and Bulgarian steel industries. The price was 1 Irish Punt. 5 years later, just weeks after Mittal collapsed Irish Steel with debts approaching £50m, and with no word of complaint from the then Irish Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, Tony Blair was writing to the Romanian Prime Minister recommending Mittal as a suitable custodian of Romania's steel industry. Mittal's £125,000 donation to Blair weeks earlier was coincidental, I am sure.

The donations to Labour have continued and, again coincidentally, under the British presidency anti-dumping tariffs on steel produced by Mittal Steel outside the EU have continued to be reduced by Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

But what will happen once Romania and Bulgaria are on the inside? They hope for an increase in their standard of living, but with that comes an increase in the costs of production. And, just as Mittal moved production from Ireland to Romania, where will Romania and Bulgaria's production go to? Kazakhstan? Algeria? Serbia? Bosnia-Herzogovina? Because Mr Mittal has bought their steel industries with the aid of loans from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. European taxpayers are subsidising the export of their own heavy industries!

The sale of Sidex was seen to have helped Romania's bid for EU membership. What will be the price for the next wave of candidate countries? Are the Romanian and Bulgarian governments happy to pay for EU membership with the jobs of their steel workers? What other industries have similar deals hidden away? Will the Commission release the documents the British government has chosen to keep hidden so Romanian and Bulgarian voters can decide if this is a price worth paying? If the rumours of Mr Mittal's takeover bid for Corus/British Steel are true, they may rapidly discover more rapidly than expected whether their own industries have any future, or whether it will follow MG Rover's Blair sponsored example".
Company: UKIP
Contact Name: Mark Croucher
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 07960-584161

Visit website »