Maroš Šefčovič sees a duty for politicians.
Europe must not “sleepwalk” into new dependency relationships in the area of critical raw materials, said European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in a speech in Prague. Speaking at the Raw Materials Security of Europe Conference, Šefčovič pointed to the great importance of having access to raw materials for the production of batteries and semiconductors. Currently, the EU covers just one percent of its own needs for key battery raw materials such as lithium, cobalt or nickel, the politician said. The continent is also dependent on imports, especially from China, with regard to permanent magnets made of rare earths, which are needed for the production of e-cars, he said. The same applies to the production of wind turbines.
In view of the dynamics of the energy transition and digitalization, there is a threat of a global shortage of important raw materials as early as 2030. In Šefčovič’s view, the free market alone cannot secure the supply; instead, politics is also called upon. The EU Commission is already working on a corresponding legislative proposal. This will help to expand domestic raw material production and recycling. In this context, it is also necessary to better communicate to the population the outstanding role that critical raw materials play in achieving the climate goals and the efforts for a digital economy.