Critical Minerals: EU and Australia Could Sign Partnership as Early as May

by | 10. Apr 2024 - 09:27 | Politics

Free trade talks failed to reach a conclusion last year. A partnership would give Europe access to Australian raw materials.

The European Union and Australia are reportedly close to signing a strategic partnership on critical minerals. EU Commission spokesperson Johanna Bernsel told the news agency Politico (Paywall), “We tentatively expect to be in the position of signing this partnership in May.” This would mark a breakthrough in the relationship between Europe and Australia as talks about a free trade agreement failed last November after years of negotiations (we reported). A strategic partnership is not as broad as a free trade agreement and would focus on key areas, according to Euractiv, which reported on a possible collaboration earlier this year. The one being discussed is tied to sustainable critical and strategic minerals.

If signed, the agreement would give the EU access to Australia’s vast resource sector while opening up a major market for companies from Down Under. As part of the recently approved Critical Raw Materials Act, Europe aims to become less dependent on individual nations regarding critical minerals the region needs for clean energy and modern technologies. Central to this is the signing of strategic partnerships with resource-rich countries. Just last month, the union inked such an agreement with Norway on raw materials and batteries. 

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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