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4 Apr 2024

The European elections and the perspectives on the Critical Raw Materials Act

On 21st March, EUMICON organised a workshop on the European Elections 2024, its challenges ahead, and future policy priorities. Among the speakers, representatives from civil society, trade unions, industry, and think tanks were present to explain the main points of their sectors for the next elections.

  • Ms Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director, Vehicles & Emobility Supply Chains – Transport & Environment
  • Mr Christian Egenhofer, Senior Research Associate, Florence School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute Florence, and Associate Senior Research Fellow, CEPS, Brussels
  • Ms Sophie Grenade, Senior Policy Advisor – IndustriAll, European Trade Union
  • Mr Nick Keramidas, Executive Director EU Affairs & Regulatory Advocacy – Mytilineos S.A.

Due to the current high economic demand for specific critical and strategic materials, the risk of supply disruption and the lack of sources that Europe faces, the Council has adopted the Critical Raw Materials Act. The act has the goal to:

  • strengthen the CRM value chain in its stages;
  • enhance the EU's capacity to mitigate risks of disruptions;
  • reduce strategic dependencies by diversifying EU CRM imports;
  • boost the circularity and sustainability.

During the workshop, representatives emphasized the importance of the raw materials for the green and digital transition and the industrial value chain but also the importance of having a coherent EU policy supporting the competitiveness of the European industry to follow a clear, holistic goal. A Vice President who is leading and responsible for the European Industrial Deal and is aligned with the legislative framework is required to guarantee a good structure.

Furthermore, the speakers raised concerns about energy prices highly present in the whole raw materials value chain, the need to promote affordable green energies, and a level playing field reducing the dependencies through effective partnerships with resource-rich countries. The relevance to promote free trade agreements, fast permitting, and effective measures urges to Europe to become more autonomous.

Additionally, one of the main topics of the discussion was skills and the necessity of better forecasting and upskilling people. It is highly important that Europe invests in an industrial plan to promote quality jobs and rights, social acceptance, and good social and environmental standards.

Finally, the sustainability of value chains is an intensively discussed topic in relation to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. The current scope marks a new threshold, where companies with a net turnover of € 450 million which is formally 0.05% of companies. However, the obligations are contractually passed on to sub-suppliers, which means that even smaller companies may be subject to additional burdens. The participants emphasised that the focus should be on the competitiveness of the European economy compared to other regions in the future.

As conclusion, EUMICON was delighted to announce the continuation on the yearly basis collaboration with the European Commission, to co-organize the High-Level Conference, in the framework of the Raw Materials Week. The 2024 edition will take place in Brussels, from 9th to 13th December. It will focus on the first year of implementing the CRM Act, including the strategic projects and partnerships. The annual High-Level Conference on raw materials will take place on 11 December.

We thank you for participating in this workshop and look forward to welcoming you again at the next EUMICON event. In the meantime, please stay tuned to new updates on our website and social network.