EU secures access to diversified, affordable, and sustainable supply of critical raw materials

Today, the European Critical Raw Materials Act comes into force, aiming to ensure a diverse, secure, and sustainable supply of critical raw materials for the EU's strategic sectors, including clean technologies, digital, defense, and aerospace industries.

This Act provides a regulatory framework to bolster domestic capacities and promote sustainability and circularity within the EU’s raw material supply chains. It aims to reduce reliance on single suppliers by enhancing domestic supply, a necessity underscored by the supply chain disruptions seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Act sets benchmarks to increase EU capacities for extracting, processing, and recycling critical raw materials, while guiding diversification efforts. It establishes a framework for selecting and implementing Strategic Projects, which can benefit from streamlined permitting and access to finance. National requirements for exploration programs in Europe are also defined. Additionally, the Act aims to improve circularity and efficient use of critical raw materials by creating value chains for recycled materials. To ensure supply chain resilience, the Act includes provisions for monitoring supply chains and facilitating information exchange and coordination on strategic raw materials' stocks among Member States and large companies.

Today, the first meeting of the Critical Raw Materials Board was opened by Executive Vice President Šefčovič, with Commissioner Breton addressing high-level representatives. The Board will be pivotal in implementing the new policy framework, supporting the Commission in selecting and implementing Strategic Projects, discussing permitting procedures and circularity initiatives, and facilitating international cooperation and Strategic Partnerships.

The Commission has also opened the Call for Strategic Projects Applications, with the first submission deadline on 22 August 2024. Additionally, a survey to aggregate demand and connect supply and demand for critical raw materials has been extended until 31 May 2024.

The Critical Raw Materials Act is part of the Green Deal Industry Plan, following the 2023 criticality assessment, a foresight report on strategic technologies, and the 2020 Action Plan on critical raw materials.

Find the original press release here.

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