Categories: Environment

Commodities: Europe’s plan to break out of dependence on other countries

With an accelerating energy transition, Europe is dependent on resources from other countries. But the European Union intends to relocate certain activities and use its own resources.

Europe intends to say “stop” to dependence on foreign raw materials, essential for electric cars and the energy transition. To do so, the EU intends to put in place a law on critical raw materials (Crma), a plan proposed by the European Commission with the aim of creating a supply chain “safe, diverse, affordable and sustainable”.

“This legislation will bring us closer to our climate ambitions and improve the refining, processing and recycling of minerals”, explains the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. But what exactly is Brussels planning?

Relocate certain activities

First of all, the Crma focuses on the extraction, recycling and refining of minerals, in order to increase production capacity in Europe by 10 to 40% by 2030. Thus, in addition to drawing up a list of critical raw materials, it sets very specific objectives for so-called “strategic” raw materials.

  • Mining: at least 10% of annual EU consumption
  • Refining: at least 40% of annual EU consumption
  • Recycling: at least 15% of annual EU consumption
  • Dependency: no more than 65% of EU annual consumption of each strategic raw material from a single country.

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Fewer administrative procedures

The other cornerstone of this strategy is to speed up mining operations in Europe through a series of administrative simplifications. Projects considered strategic will thus be authorized much more quickly than today: 24 months for extraction and 12 months for processing and recycling.

With regard to recycling, Member States will have to adopt a series of measures to promote the recovery of materials, while it will be up to companies to identify the potential of each product. Besides, the EU will fund research, development and training.

The European Union will also enter into a series of partnerships with emerging and developing markets. In addition, it will strengthen its relations with its international allies through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a “critical raw materials alliance” which is now beginning to emerge.

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