Commission announces actions to make Europe's raw materials supply more secure and sustainable
The Commission yesterday presented an Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, the 2020 List of Critical Raw Materials and a foresight study on critical raw materials for strategic technologies and sectors from the 2030 and 2050 perspectives. The Action Plan looks at the current and future challenges and proposes actions to reduce Europe's dependency on third countries, diversifying supply from both primary and secondary sources and improving resource efficiency and circularity while promoting responsible sourcing worldwide. The actions will foster our transition towards a green and digital economy, and at the same time, bolster Europe's resilience and open strategic autonomy in key technologies needed for such transition. The List of Critical Raw Materials has been updated to reflect the changed economic importance and supply challenges based on their industrial application. It contains 30 critical raw materials. Lithium, which is essential for a shift to e-mobility, has been added to the list for the first time.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight yesterday said:
"A secure and sustainable supply of raw materials is a prerequisite for a resilient economy. For e-car batteries and energy storage alone, Europe will for instance need up to 18 times more lithium by 2030 and up to 60 times more by 2050. As our foresight shows, we cannot allow to replace current reliance on fossil fuels with dependency on critical raw materials. This has been magnified by the coronavirus disruptions in our strategic value chains. We will therefore build a strong alliance to collectively shift from high dependency to diversified, sustainable and socially-responsible sourcing, circularity and innovation.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market yesterday said:
"A number of raw materials are essential for Europe to lead the green and digital transition and remain the world's first industrial continent. We cannot afford to rely entirely on third countries – for some rare earths even on just one country. By diversifying the supply from third countries and developing the EU's own capacity for extraction, processing, recycling, refining and separation of rare earths, we can become more resilient and sustainable. Implementing the actions that we propose today will require a concerted effort by industry, civil society, regions and Member States. We encourage the latter to include investments into critical raw materials into their national recovery plans."
The Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials is aimed to:
- develop resilient value chains for EU industrial ecosystems;
- reduce dependency on primary critical raw materials through circular use of re-sources, sustainable products and innovation;
- strengthen domestic sourcing of raw materials in the EU;
- diversify sourcing from third countries and remove distortions to international trade, fully respecting the EU's international obligations.
To achieve these objectives, yesterday's Communication outlines ten concrete actions. First, the Commission will in the coming weeks establish a European Raw Materials Alliance. By bringing together all relevant stakeholders, the alliance will primarily focus on the most pressing needs, namely to increase EU resilience in the rare earth and magnet value chains, as this is vital to most of EU industrial ecosystems, such as renewable energy, defence and space. Later, the alliance could expand to address other critical raw material and base metal needs over time.
To make better use of domestic resources, the Commission will work with Member States and regions to identify mining and processing projects in the EU that can be operational by 2025. A special focus will be on coal-mining regions and other regions in transition, with special attention to expertise and skills relevant for mining, extraction and processing of raw materials.
The Commission will promote the use of its earth-observation programme Copernicus to improve resource exploration, operations and post-closure environmental management. At the same time, Horizon Europe will support research and innovation, especially on new mining and processing technologies, substitution and recycling.
In line with the European Green Deal, other actions will address the circularity and sustainability of the raw materials value chain. The Commission will therefore develop sustainable financing criteria for the mining and extractive sectors by the end of 2021. It will also map the potential of secondary critical raw materials from EU stocks and wastes to identify viable recovery projects by 2022.
The Commission will develop strategic international partnerships to secure the supply of critical raw materials not found in Europe. Pilot partnerships with Canada, interested countries in Africa and the EU's neighbourhood will start as of 2021. In these and other fora of international cooperation, the Commission will promote sustainable and responsible mining practices and transparency.
Latest News from
Joint Statement by Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the United States re-joining the Paris Agreement21/01/2021 16:33:00
Joint Statement given yesterday by Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the United States re-joining the Paris Agreement.
Additional and more flexible funding to help those most in need21/01/2021 15:25:00
Parliament voted today to continue making additional resources available in 2021 and 2022 in order to provide food and basic assistance to the most deprived.
Portuguese Presidency wants EU to deliver on vaccines, recovery and transition21/01/2021 14:33:00
MEPs discussed the programme for the next six-month presidency of the Council of the EU this morning with Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa.
EU will have stronger powers in trade disputes21/01/2021 13:25:00
On Tuesday, Parliament adopted new rules allowing the EU to use countermeasures in trade disputes when arbitration is blocked.
Speech by President Charles Michel at the European Parliament on the inauguration of the new President of the United States21/01/2021 12:08:00
Speech given yesterday by President Charles Michel at the European Parliament on the inauguration of the new President of the United States.
Remarks by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the press conference on key actions for a united front to beat COVID-1921/01/2021 11:33:00
Remarks given yesterday by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the press conference on key actions for a united front to beat COVID-19.
MEPs call for additional EU sanctions against Russia over Navalny’s imprisonment21/01/2021 10:38:00
MEPs strongly condemn Alexei Navalny’s arrest and call on the EU to extend sanctions against Russian officials to cover those involved in his jailing.
Covid-19 vaccinations: more solidarity and transparency needed21/01/2021 09:25:00
MEPs supported the EU's common approach to fighting Covid-19 and called for more unity and clarity during a debate on the roll-out of vaccines and the EU's vaccines strategy.
Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to further prolong and adjust State aid Temporary Framework20/01/2021 16:33:00
The European Commission yesterday sent to Member States for consultation a draft proposal to prolong until 31 December 2021 and further adjust the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework, initially adopted on 19 March 2020 to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.