On March 17, 2022, the General Meeting of SPMO was held in Krakow, during which substantive and financial reports on the activities of the Association in 2021 were presented. The reports were approved by the meeting and the members of the Management Board were given a vote of approval. In the regular part, the meeting was organized as follows:
1. EC guidelines on state aid for climate, environmental protection and energy.
2. Proposition of lobbying for the ceramics industry in Brussels.
3. The war in Ukraine – assessment of the situation by the Ceramic Union.
4. Situation in plants – members of SPMO, discussion
5. Miscellaneous information
Ad.1. A draft of the European Commission’s assumptions regarding changes in the rules concerning changes in the rules for reducing electricity bills for energy-intensive consumers was presented. The refractory industry is classified as exposed to a significant risk of relocation and therefore can count on high compensation after approval of the project.
Ad2. The proposal of lobbying for the Polish ceramics industry in Brussels and the employment of lobbying specialists for this purpose was discussed. On this matter, an on-line meeting was held in January with representatives of sector associations and representatives of some non-affiliated ceramic plants in Poland. No decision was made on this matter.
Ad.3. The paper presents an assessment of the current situation of the ceramics industry in the EU caused by the war in Ukraine. Ukraine is a strategic supplier of clay raw materials for the ceramics industry in Europe; in 2019, 80% of the clay raw materials imported to the EU (aluminum and kaolin) came from Ukraine.
In 2021, the value of ceramics exports to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine amounted to a total of EUR 814.4 million, including 73.3% to Russia, 22.1% to Ukraine and 4.5% to Belarus. In 2020, the total sales of ceramics to these countries accounted for about 8.5% of the value of exports to non-EU countries.
The main export items are tiles (EUR 295 million in 2021) and refractory materials (EUR 289 million in 2021). It accounted for, respectively, 16% of the value of all exported refractory materials and 7% of the value of tile exports.
Ad. 5. In the section on miscellaneous matters, the state of play of the WRA standardization task force was presented, and preparations for the meeting of Czech-Slovak and Polish associations in autumn this year were discussed. And the dates of the PRE Congress in Vienna and the conferences in WIsle and UNITECR 2023 were recalled.
A meeting on the status of the RefraPredict project was a separate part. Research team leader dr hab. Jacek Podwórny discussed the results of the research carried out so far by the Łukasiewicz ICIMB team and partners in Germany FGF and Hochschule Koblenz. Discussion participants paid particular attention to the issue of disseminating the results among technologists representing plants. It was agreed to organize a joint meeting during the international conference in Wisła in May this year