European Parliament gives green signal to Critical Raw Materials Act

Policy & Regulation

The legislation will make the EU more competitive and sovereign by cutting red tape, fostering innovation throughout the entire value chain and supporting SMEs

Source: Getty Images/CreVis2

The European Parliament has given a green signal to the Critical Raw Materials Act, which aims to secure the region’s supply of strategic raw materials, according to a press note released by the parliament on Dec. 12.

The new legislation was adopted with 549 votes to 43, with 24 abstentions. The new law will now have to be formally endorsed by the European Council before publication in the Official Journal.

It is known that critical raw materials are pivotal for the region’s green and digital transitions, and securing their supply is crucial for the EU's economic resilience, technological leadership and strategic autonomy. Battery raw materials such as cobalt, graphite and lithium, among others, are being increasingly seen as key natural resources involved in geopolitical negotiations, especially after the Russia-Ukraine war and an increasingly aggressive Chinese trade and industrial policy.

Notably, the Critical Raw Materials Act is designed to make the EU more competitive and sovereign, by cutting red tape, fostering innovation along the entire value chain and supporting the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The proposed act also aims to boost research and development (R&D) of alternative materials, and more environmentally friendly mining and production methods.

The new legislation is expected to set up economic incentives and a more stable and secure business framework for mining and recycling projects, with faster and simpler authorization procedures.

According to the press note, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) pushed for a stronger focus on the production and scale-up of materials that can substitute strategic raw materials during negotiations with the council on the law. “They secured the establishment of targets to foster the extraction of more strategic raw materials from waste products,” it said, adding that the MEPs also insisted on the need to cut red tape for companies, in particular for the SMEs.

Further, during the negotiations on the law, MEPs also highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships between the EU and third countries on critical raw materials, in order to diversify the region’s supply, with benefits for all sides.

The new law aims to secure measures to pave the way for long-term partnerships with knowledge- and technology-transfer, training and upskilling for new jobs with better working and income conditions, as well as extraction and processing on the best ecological standards in partner countries.

“This legislation is an industrial policy blueprint for a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials in Europe. With targeted economic incentives, we are creating project-planning certainty for private investors — through single points of contact for companies, and fast and simple authorization procedures with clear deadlines for national authorities. This will boost mining, processing and recycling in Europe,” said Nicola Beer, the lead MEP.

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