"Securing Europe's Green Future: The Transformative Power of the Critical Raw Materials Act"
At the EIT RawMaterials 2023 Summit, EU leaders emphasised the significance of the Critical Raw Materials Act, a crucial policy for enhancing Europe's resilience, competitiveness, and security in the global raw materials sector. This Act is central to key strategic industries, including renewable energy, digital, and defence sectors, aiding in the secure, diversified, and affordable access to sustainable critical raw materials.
The Critical Raw Materials Act is a pioneering endeavour, focusing on the business case for raw materials. It's a key step towards Europe's growth, given the increasing demand for critical raw materials and the need to reduce dependency on quasi-monopolistic imports from third countries. Events such as the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the push for clean energy targets emphasise the urgency for this Act.
To enhance the security of raw materials supply, the Act lays out benchmarks for domestic capacities along the entire supply chain, from extraction to recycling, and puts a cap on the dependence on single third countries. The legislation also aims to bridge the gap between public and private financing, bolster skill development, and guarantee a market for the raw materials.
Nevertheless, the EU leaders acknowledge room for improvement in the Act, calling for increased coherence and strategic emphasis. They further stressed the need for operational actions, inclusivity of major stakeholders, and speeding up of permitting processes for mining.
Looking towards 2030, the leaders envisage the reduction of mine permitting times to a maximum of two years and the development of a competitive skills engine to fill the projected 1.2 million jobs in this sector. They advocate for the rebranding of the raw materials sector to make it attractive for the emerging workforce and stress the urgent need for political will to secure raw materials for the green energy transition.
The Critical Raw Materials Act holds the promise to secure sustainable supply chains and enable the EU to navigate a green and digital future. Its successful implementation and continual refinement will be pivotal in managing Europe's natural resources strategically and responsibly.