The New York Times’ report has been picked up by Mandiner, a Hungarian political news site, which claims that more and more European factories are being hit by skyrocketing energy prices.
Nicholas Hodler, CEO of the glassware factory Arc International in France, said that he had to rewrite his business plan six times in two months. He added that high energy prices are forcing factories to suddenly cut back production and send tens of thousands of workers on forced leave. At Arc, 1600 workers were asked to stay at home for two days every week to cut costs. Hodler said the cuts risked a recession in Europe.
In its article, the New York Times lists some European companies that have either shut down plants or are significantly cutting back production.
One such example is ArcelorMittal, Europe’s largest steel factory, which has shut down one of its furnaces in Germany. Aluminium giant Alcoa is cutting production by a third in a Norwegian plant, and the world’s largest zinc producer, Nyrstar, has suspended production in a Dutch plant indefinitely.
The newspaper says that the current energy crisis is to some extent being caused by European sanctions. These were intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, but the pain has been felt by European companies.
The New York Times also mentions European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s proposal for an extra-profit tax on electricity and energy companies, which it says will not resolve the situation quickly enough. In many places, costs have already risen above what many generating companies can afford.
In addition, consumers are also affected by the price increases, as people in Europe have less and less money for anything else. For example, they are no longer buying washing machines, for which Arc produces glass windows, and for which orders have sharply fallen.
The article also shows the other side of the story, interviewing a worker on forced leave who was paid 80 per cent of his wages while the factory where he worked was shut down. This meant 130 euros in lost wages, while his car’s petrol bill rose to 100 euros from 50 last year.
As Hungary Today reported earlier in many articles, Hungarian politicians have quickly realized once the sanctions were introduced against Russia, that they would hurt Europe more, and they have spoken out against the measures several times. Recently, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in New York at the UN General Assembly that “Europe is suffering more than Russia from the restrictions imposed in response to the war in Ukraine, so the eighth package of sanctions should be forgotten, as it would only deepen the difficulties.”
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