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3 Jan 2024

EUMICON welcomes the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Welcome Belgium!

As EUMICON, we welcome the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This transition marks a crucial period for the mining industry, with the recent culmination of several significant files under the Spanish Council Presidency, setting the stage for pivotal developments ahead.

During the Spanish Presidency, from 1st of July to 31st of December 2023, four primary priorities were outlined. First and foremost, the agenda to reindustrialize the EU and secure its open strategic autonomy. This entailed promoting the development of strategic industries and technologies within Europe, diversifying trade relations, and bolstering supply chains. Simultaneously, Spain advocated for a unified strategy to ensure economic growth and EU global leadership by 2030, aligning with the Versailles informal meeting's agreements from March 2022.

Furthermore, the Spanish Presidency was dedicated to advancing ecological transition and environmental adaptation.  Efforts were focused on reforming the electricity market to accelerate renewable energy deployment, lower electricity prices, and enhance system stability. The Presidency also championed greater social and economic justice through the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and fiscal rules, aiming to combine fiscal sustainability with financing green and digital transitions. Lastly, the Spanish Presidency was active in the reinforcement of the EU’s unity.

Under the Spanish Presidency, several critical legislative achievements shaped the landscape for the mining industry. The Net Zero Industry Act garnered consensus among EU Industry Ministers, encompassing strategic zero-emission technologies. Additionally, multiple regulations such as Industrial Emissions Directive, Chips Act, Energy Efficiency Directive, the Electricity Market Reform and the Critical Raw Materials Act were approved.

Looking ahead, the Belgian Presidency, spanning from 1st of January to 31st of June 2024, will be working on the 154 Commission proposals that are still open. On Friday 7th of December, the Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Minister for Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib outlined the next Presidency’s objectives: protect, reinforce, and prepare. To achieve them, six priorities of action will lead their work: defence of the rule of law, democracy, and unity; strengthening of competitiveness; the green and just transition; reinforcement of the social and health agenda; protection of people and borders, and promotion of a global Europe. 

Of significance to the mining industry is the focus on strengthening competitiveness, emphasizing long-term strategies to bolster industrial policies and ensure fair competition for businesses, especially SMEs. The Presidency aims to fortify the internal market, energy union, and technological leadership, accentuating research, development, and innovation to enhance EU value chains' resilience and competitiveness.

Moreover, the Presidency underscores the imperative of a green and just transition, prioritizing energy and climate transitions, circular economy enhancement, and sustainable water management. Ensuring affordable and reliable energy supply and leveraging energy efficiency and renewable sources align with the Presidency's agenda, crucial aspects for the mining industry's sustainable operations.

EUMICON is looking forward to start working with Belgium towards strengthened European raw materials value chains. Welcome Belgium! Bienvenue la Belgique! Welkom België!