“Impose much stronger controls on key critical raw material waste streams. Prevent illegal exports of waste products containing critical raw materials and guarantee that exported waste products are processed under conditions equivalent to those of the EU”, declared Hildegard Bentele MEP, author of the Report on the European Strategy for Critical Raw Materials.
This afternoon, Members of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee are voting on 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.
Against this backdrop, EPP Group MEPs continued to build on the initial European Commission proposal. Indeed, they called for a taskforce that would address strategical mapping, assess imports and exports, keep track of global supply and demand and coordinate stock-piling.
“EU governments should also improve timeliness, predictability and transparency of authorisation processes. We call for new funding tools to address risk sharing, amongst other things. And we need to set up an Important Project of Common European Interest”, said Bentele.
Currently, the EU only provides 1% of the raw materials for wind energy, less than 1% of Li-batteries, less than 1% of fuel cells, only 2% of the raw materials relevant to robotics and only 1% of silicon-based photovoltaic assemblies.
Critical raw materials are essential for the twin transition. The EU needs lithium for batteries; magnesium for light-weight vehicle concepts; neodymium and dysprosium for permanent magnets used for renewable energy structures like generators for windmills, in robotics, electric vehicles, electronics and communication devices.
“If we are serious about the Green Deal, sustainable sourcing of critical raw materials is part of the solution, certainly not the problem”, Bentele concluded.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 179 Members from all EU Member States