The secure supply of raw materials for the EU’s industry is a long-standing issue. The EU has sought ways to address it, from the establishment of the Raw Materials Supply Group in the 1970s to the launch of the Raw Materials Initiative in 2008. This initiative set out a strategy for reducing dependencies for non-energy raw materials for industrial value chains and societal well-being by diversifying sources of primary raw materials from third countries, strengthening domestic sourcing, and supporting the supply of secondary raw materials through resource efficiency and circularity. EU Policy
The European Green Deal and the new EU Industrial Strategy acknowledge that access to resources is a strategic security question for making the green and digital transformations a success. Currently the coronavirus crisis is leading many parts of the world to look critically at how they organise their supply chains, especially where public safety or strategic sectors are concerned.
The Commission’s proposed EU Recovery Plan puts an emphasis on building a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe. The development of diversified, resilient supply chains of sustainable raw materials is part of that strategy.
The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) was announced on 3 September 2020, as a part Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, and the publication of the 2020 List of Critical Raw Materials list.
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 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, European Communication outlined ten concrete actions.
First, is the establishment of 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. EU Policy
- Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability
- Critical materials for strategic technologies and sectors in the EU – A foresight study
- Questions and Answers on the Communication on Critical Raw Materials
- Factsheet on the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials
- European Green Deal
- European Industrial Strategy
- DG GROW’s Critical raw materials webpage
- JRC’s Raw Materials Information System website
- EU Circular Economy Action Plan