Critical raw materials are pivotal for a green future

A lady and a gentle man walking in a field full of solar panels

“The supply of critical raw materials is vital for the Green Deal”, declared Hildegard Bentele MEP, author of the Report on the European Strategy for Critical Raw Materials.

Later this afternoon, the European Parliament will debate a European strategy for critical raw materials. The transition towards a digital, energy-efficient and climate-neutral economy will lead to a significant higher demand for critical raw materials.

Currently, EU countries only supply small amounts of key critical raw materials needed in strategic sectors like wind power, batteries, robotics and photovoltaic. These critical raw materials are mainly imported from a very limited pool of third countries. Although efforts towards a circular economy (recycling waste management, product design and substitution) are essential, they will not be enough to meet the higher demand.

“In many ways, the supply of critical raw materials has an impact on our climate targets, our competitiveness and jobs in Europe. While all forecasts suggest that our demand will increase exponentially, we are highly dependent on a few supplier countries and companies. We have to act now. It is about time we examined our supply chains and put them on stable ground. I hope that we won't need a severe crisis to understand the urgency of diversified critical raw material supply chains”, Bentele said.

Against this backdrop, EPP Group MEPs called for a taskforce that would address strategical mapping, assess imports and exports, keep track of global supply and demand and coordinate stock-piling.

“There is no doubt about the potential of recycling and other elements of the circular economy. But let's not turn a blind eye to the continuing need for primary raw materials. Sustainable sourcing in the EU is part of the solution. It is certainly not the problem. This is not the time for not-in-my-backyard thinking”, Bentele declared.

Bentele believes that it is possible to balance the EU’s increased reliance on sustainably sourced critical raw materials and the need to protect nature and biodiversity.

The vote on the parliamentary Report is scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 178 Members from all EU Member States

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