Letter to EU Commission: clarity demanded on possible shift in dependency.
Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly stressed the importance of critical raw materials for Europe’s energy independence. A new law aims to secure the supply of minerals and metals needed to implement climate protection targets and the digital transformation.
Nevertheless, 50 members of the European Parliament’s Christian Democrat EPP group are expressing concern about the situation. In a written question (PDF) to the EU Commission, they want to know how the switch to electromobility will affect the Union’s geostrategic dependence and any raw material bottlenecks will impact the price development of electric vehicles. They point to a study by Belgium’s KU Leuven University, which shows that without new investment in domestic mines and refineries, Europe will remain heavily dependent on imports for many raw materials. From 2030, global shortages of lithium, nickel, copper and rare earths, for example, loom.
The lawmakers also ask the commission to present an analysis of potential dependency shifts as a result of the European Green Deal legislative packages, including planned countermeasures.
Call For EU to Change Course
So far, the EU has struggled to open new mines, as local residents are often critical of the potential environmental impact, EURACTIV writes. The letter’s initiator, Austrian MEP Barbara Thaler, warns against merely shifting dependence for key materials. All promises on European raw materials policy are just lip service if politicians continue to insist on the complete electrification of private transport without allowing competition between alternative fuels that include e-fuels and biofuels, she told EURACTIV.
A change of course by the EU is also called for by EPP Chair Manfred Weber in light of the confirmed third term of China’s leader Xi Jinping. China is changing its face, he said, with Xi underlining a claim to power both internally and externally. The EU states must find new raw material partners instead of further increasing their dependence on the People’s Republic.