News 26 May 2015

Joint call for actions against metal theft at European level

Metal theft happens every day across Europe and results in the disruption of many services of general interest, such as public transport, railways, energy networks and telecommunications. Metal theft not only causes huge economic losses for businesses and society but can also create potential risks for the safety of companies’ staff and citizens, and has negative impacts on the quality of services and security of supply. Furthermore, in many cases, metal theft is a form of organised cross-border crime, and as such represents a threat to the internal security and economies of EU Member States. Different items are being stolen due to the monetary value of their constituent materials, most frequently ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and in most cases thieves seek to exchange their stolen metal for money. However, the impact of metal theft goes far beyond the actual value of the stolen material. Metals and their alloys play an important part in all infrastructures of general interest due to their characteristics such as, inter alia, strength, conductivity and durability. They are widely used in rail signalling, telecommunication and electrical equipment, which are essential for the functioning and the efficiency of services of general interest. In this sense, metal theft causes important damage and inefficiencies in the overall economy of the affected sectors, also due to interdependencies among them, and implies serious losses of material and the accompanying need to quickly replace them in order to restore the disrupted services. Our organisations, representing public services strongly affected by metal theft (public transport, railways, energy networks) and the recycling industry, see metal theft as a phenomenon having a clear European cross-border dimension. Thus, we are joining forces in order to urge the EU policy makers to tackle metal theft without further delay by addressing the following aspects: Legislative action Coordinated action and data collection Dissuasive action