The alarm was raised in the European Union a few months ago due to the increase in the cost of raw materials and the lack of supply to the industry. The war in Ukraine has also left the Old Continent in an energetically unstable state. 27 conspired to enhance their strategic autonomy. A few months later, the European Commission puts the plans on the table, and the ambition remains half-baked. This happened with the reform of the electricity market, which is largely in line with the interests of the energy companies, and it is happening now with the plan to reduce the dependence on strategic raw materials.
“The EU will never be self-sufficient in the supply of raw materials and will continue to depend on imports for the majority of consumption,” the European Commission admits in a communication on the plan, which it will present on the 27th and also. Negotiations should take place with the European Parliament. The proposal sets a target of “at least 10%” of annual consumption on European soil in 2030. This is a low percentage, although it increases to 40% if recycled.
According to Single Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, in the first instance, the aim is to halve the time it takes to obtain raw material extraction permits, which now take up to five years, and cut red tape by creating a single window. . The regulations provide that strategic projects benefit from the availability of financing and the reduction of deadlines for obtaining permits.
At the moment, Brussels has not established a specific system for financing the plan, which falls within the objectives of the Green Deal, leaving it in the hands of the member states. So far, Europe accounts for only 3% of the global mineral extraction budget, with half coming from Spain, Finland and Sweden.
In addition to increasing net European production, what Brussels is trying to do is stop the dependence on one country for the supply of certain resources. Thus, it establishes that in the case of strategic raw materials (sixteen in total) the country’s dependence cannot exceed 65%.
One of the main concerns is in elements known as “rare earths,” a set of minerals essential to technology and the weapons industry. China supplies about 95% of these materials to the EU.
Community government efforts are now focused on expanding strategic ties with other countries. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has created a strategic alliance on raw materials with partners such as the US and Canada – where she recently traveled to meet with Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau – or Ukraine. The Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, is currently on a Latin American tour, which has taken her to Chile, Colombia and Brazil for the same purpose.
“Imports are and will be important: we are stepping up our efforts internationally,” notes Vestager: in the long term, recycling will significantly help secure our supply and also ensure the competitiveness of our industry.
“We will expand and accelerate our capabilities and build stronger international relations based on trust, openness and mutual benefit.” Our recent agreement with Chile and future agreements with Australia or Indonesia will help support sustainable and resilient supply chains,” explains Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrowski, who defends the critical raw material club with “Trusted Partners”: Ties Closer and More Diverse Business Relationships It will reduce our addictions and insecurities.
The plan also requires the 27 to analyze the reserves of resources available to them in light of possible crises and, in the case of companies, to do the same with their vulnerabilities in order to have better opportunities when identified. strategic goals.
Green Technology Law “Made in Europe”
The development of the green industry has led to a commercial battle that is forcing the EU to take decisions aimed at increasing its competitiveness in a market that the US recently joined the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will bring in about 400,000 GEL. million dollars and in which the dependence on China for production is causing concern in the old continent. In Brussels, they reiterate that they are leading decarbonisation targets to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, but they admit they need to take steps to protect the industry from fierce competition.
That’s why the European Commission piled on the work and new regulations to increase strategic autonomy over raw materials, adding this Thursday a proposal to make 40% of green industries “made in Europe” by 2030.
The plan includes the identification of eight clean technologies (solar, wind, batteries, heat pumps, geothermal energy, electrolyzers and fuel plates, biogas and biomethane, grid technologies and carbon capture and storage) that, considered strategically, they will benefit from. A specific regulatory framework that will reduce the complexity of issuing permits will limit their approval time to a maximum of nine to twelve months, depending on the size and scope of the project, among other things.
Nuclear energy, which is France’s big strength in the face of the new energy paradigm, is left out of these priority energies, although the European Commission explains that it will also have facilities. “Other zero emission technologies will also be supported. of the measures of the law, but of a different degree”; – declares the government of the community.
Source: El Diario