Procedure : 2021/2011(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0280/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0280/2021

Debates :

PV 22/11/2021 - 18
CRE 22/11/2021 - 18

Votes :

PV 23/11/2021 - 6
PV 24/11/2021 - 10
CRE 24/11/2021 - 10

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0468

<Date>{12/10/2021}12.10.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0280/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 261kWORD 109k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>on a European strategy for critical raw materials</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2011(INI))</DocRef>


<Commission>{ITRE}Committee on Industry, Research and Energy</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Hildegard Bentele</Depute>

Rapporteurs for the opinion (*):
Sara Matthieu, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Roman Haider, Committee on International Trade

(*) Associated committees – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE


PR_INI

CONTENTS

Page

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

 



MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on a European strategy for critical raw materials

(2021/2011(INI))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 9, 151, 152, 153(1) and (2), Article 173, which concerns EU industrial policy and refers, among other things, to the competitiveness of EU industry, and Article 208, which reaffirms that the EU must take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries,

 having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Article 3(3), which refers to the internal market, sustainable development and the social market economy, and Article 5(3), which refers to the principle of subsidiarity,

 having regard to Protocol (No 2) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, annexed to the TEU and the TFEU,–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment[1] (the Taxonomy Regulation),

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste[2] (the Waste Shipment Regulation),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas[3] (the Conflict Minerals Regulation),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/1037 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union[4] (the EU Anti-Subsidy Regulation),

 having regard to Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)[5],

 having regard to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste[6] (the Waste Framework Directive),

 having regard to Directive 2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the management of waste from extractive industries (the Mining Waste Directive)[7],

 having regard to Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions[8] (the Industrial Emissions Directive),

 having regard to Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment[9] (the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive),

 having regard to Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds[10] (the Birds Directive),

 having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora[11] (the Habitats Directive),

 having regard to Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups[12] (the Non-Financial Reporting Directive),

 having regard to the agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015 (the Paris Agreement),

 having regard to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production and SDG 15 on life on land,

 having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights,

 having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights,

 having regard to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct,

 having regard to the 2009 UN Environment Programme Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products,

 having regard to the International Energy Agency (IEA) special report of May 2021 entitled ‘The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions’,

 having regard to the IEA special report of May 2021 entitled ‘Net zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector’,

 having regard to the European Environment Agency briefing of 13 January 2021 entitled ‘Growth without economic growth’,

 having regard to the European Environmental Agency report of 30 August 2021 entitled ‘Improving the climate impact of raw material sourcing’,

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) of 25 March 2021 entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability’,

 having regard to the Commission’s final report of September 2020 entitled ‘Study on the EU’s list of Critical Raw Materials (2020)’, and the accompanying fact sheets on critical raw materials,

 having regard to the Commission’s foresight study of 3 September 2020 entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials for Strategic Technologies and Sectors in the EU’,

 having regard to the Commission report of 5 November 2018 entitled ‘Report on critical raw materials and the circular economy’,

 having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2021 with recommendations to the Commission on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability[13],

 having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2020 on a new strategy for European SMEs[14],

 having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2020 on a New Industrial Strategy for Europe[15],

 having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan[16],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences[17],

 having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal[18],

 having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2021 entitled ‘A new EU-Africa Strategy – a partnership for sustainable and inclusive development’[19],

 having regard to its resolution of 27 April 2017 on implementation of the Mining Waste Directive[20],

 having regard to the Commission proposal of 10 December 2020 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries, repealing Directive 2006/66/EC and amending Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020 (COM(2020)0798),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 3 September 2020 entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability’ (COM(2020)0474),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 5 May 2021 entitled ‘Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger single market for Europe’s recovery’ (COM(2021)0350),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2020 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2021 – A Union of vitality in a world of fragility’ (COM(2020)0690),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2020 entitled ‘Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’ (COM(2020)0456),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan – For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098), and the staff working document of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘Leading the way to a global circular economy: state of play and outlook’ (SWD(2020)0100),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 2 December 2015 entitled ‘Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Circular Economy’ (COM(2015)0614),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘An SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe’ (COM(2020)0103),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 18 February 2021 entitled ‘Trade Policy Review - An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy’ (COM(2021)0066),

 having regard to OECD publication of 12 February 2019 entitled ‘Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060: Economic Drivers and Environmental Consequences’,

 having regard to World Bank publication of 2020 entitled ‘Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition’,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 December 2020 on making the recovery circular and green,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 November 2020 entitled ‘A recovery advancing the transition towards a more dynamic, resilient and competitive European industry’,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 November 2019 on ‘Circular Economy in the Construction Sector’,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 4 October 2019 entitled ‘More circularity – Transition to a sustainable society’,

 having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on International Trade,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A9-0280/2021),

A. whereas critical raw materials (CRMs) are the originators of industrial value creation and therefore have a significant effect on downstream sectors; whereas it is of strategic importance that the EU reduces its dependency, safeguards its flows, value and supply chains, and supports, fosters and digitalises ecosystems since this is the new core capacity in international (industrial) competition; whereas a comprehensive CRM strategy should incorporate high environmental and societal standards;

B. whereas the growing population and the transition towards digital, highly energy-efficient and climate-neutral economies lead in all scenarios to significantly higher demand for CRMs[21];

C. whereas technologies requiring CRMs will be key to ensuring the EU and the world as a whole can achieve their goals under the Paris Agreement;

D. whereas a comprehensive EU CRM strategy should be based on high environmental, social and human rights standards, also taking into account natural mineral scarcity;

E. whereas the EU currently provides only 1 % of the raw materials for wind energy, less than 1 % of lithium batteries, less than 1 % of fuel cells, only 2 % of the raw materials relevant to robotics and only 1 % of silicon-based photovoltaic assemblies[22];

F. whereas the Commission communication on updating the 2020 new industrial strategy identifies 137 products and raw materials (representing 6 % of the total value of goods imported into the EU) used in sensitive ecosystems on which the EU is highly dependent – mainly in energy-intensive industries and health ecosystems – as well as other products needed to support the green and digital transition; whereas 52 % of these products are imported from the People’s Republic of China;

G. whereas COVID-19 negatively affected global supply chains and led to CRM shortages in Europe;

H. whereas one of the great challenges concerning CRMs in Europe is recycling; whereas the CRM recycling sector has significant job creation potential; whereas it is estimated that the traction battery recycling sector alone will create about 10 500 jobs by 2035 in the EU;

I. whereas recycling, substitution and changing behavioural and consumption patterns have the potential to flatten CRM demand;

J. whereas according to the United Nations University, in 2016, the total value of secondary raw materials in WEEE was estimated to be around EUR 55 billion[23]; whereas, according to the same study, up to 90 % of the world’s e-waste has been illegally traded or landfilled;

K. whereas it is evident that – also with regard to envisaged new due diligence obligations – new sustainable sourcing is required and that the potential to source materials at high sustainability standards in the EU and its neighbourhood should be exploited, while fully taking into account circular economy options such as recycling, product design, substitution and reduced use of materials;

L. whereas the EESC opinion of 25 March 2021 ‘emphasises the importance of widening the definition and the paradigm of critical raw materials. Conventionally, critical raw materials have been understood as materials coming mainly from mining sector. This is too narrow scope and limits the growth of green energies. Today, wood-based materials can be efficiently used in much more applications than in the past. From textiles to new lighter and more environmentally friendly battery technologies, this is an area that is advancing with great speed. Bioeconomy has the unique possibilities of adding resilience to the EU economy and geopolitical stability for our continent. Using renewable materials would simultaneously also help mitigate climate change as it allows keeping the fossil emissions in the ground, creating green resilience to fossil sectors’;

M.  whereas, as pointed out in the opinion, ‘there are extremely few examples of raw material exports in developing countries triggering sustainable economic and social development from which broad sections of the population would have benefited. Rather, the situation often entails social exploitation and environmental pollution with usually only a few profiteers on the winning side’;

N. whereas the supply of many CRMs is highly concentrated outside the EU, with China providing 98 % of the EU’s supply of rare earth elements (REE), Turkey providing 98 % of its supply of borate, and South Africa providing 71 % of its platinum, 92 % of its iridium, 80 % of its rhodium and 93 % of its ruthenium’[24];

O. whereas future scenarios indicate that for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage, the EU will need up to 18 times more lithium and five times more cobalt in 2030, and almost 60 times more lithium and 15 times more cobalt in 2050, compared to the current supply to the whole EU economy[25];

P. whereas four sustainable lithium mining projects totalling EUR 2 billion are under way in the EU and should be in operation between 2022 and 2024; whereas they are expected to cover up to 80 % of the EU’s lithium needs in the battery sector by 2025, thus contributing directly to our strategic autonomy;

Q.  whereas shortages of CRMs are leading to increasing industrial and security concerns, especially owing to the predicted exponential increase in production, especially the production of batteries, which are essential for the transition to producing energy from renewable sources;

R. whereas the EU needs to improve its strategic autonomy in key areas such as CRM supply, which is also crucial for increasing its capacity in defence and space matters;

S. whereas considering that the EU will continue to rely on international supply chains to fulfil its needs for CRMs, measures to make global trade markets more transparent, effective and predictable will also play an important role;

T. whereas the raw materials sector provides around 350 000 jobs in the EU, and more than 30 million jobs in downstream manufacturing industries that depend on it[26]; whereas moving towards a more circular economy could bring a net increase of 700 000 jobs in the EU by 2030[27];

U. whereas mining activities potentially expose workers to harmful and hazardous conditions; whereas labour rights and protection vary greatly across the globe and at different mining sites;

V. whereas CRMs do not appear separately, but are mixed in ore with base metals, and whereas their processing require a considerable amount of energy; whereas competitiveness and profitability of production is therefore determined by the availability of stable and affordable energy, as well as the identification and development of relevant methods, procedures and technologies;

W. whereas in its report entitled ‘Growth without economic growth’, the European Environment Agency says that economic growth is closely linked to increased production, consumption and use of resources, with negative effects on nature, climate and human health and that current research suggests that it is unlikely economic growth can be completely divorced from its environmental impacts;

Challenges and opportunities

1. Considers that an integrated approach throughout the value chain, from waste collection and product design for recyclability to material recovery, is an essential strategy to increase CRM supply; regrets, however, that waste collection and product design have a low technology readiness level; stresses that only focusing on recycling will not be sufficient to meet increasing CRM demand; notes that although CRM substitution has limitations in terms of product efficiency, it is an inherent goal of affected industries and respective research projects because of high prices and dependency, and can help to address CRM sufficiency challenges; stresses the need for continuous efforts in and support for research and innovation regarding the recycling and substitution of CRMs and product design;

2. Stresses that CRM sourcing is tied to geographic location, which to date has been highly dependent on fossil energy, and at risk of indirect and direct carbon leakage and exposure to unfair competition; notes that CRM sourcing is often associated with potentially significant environmental impacts such as biodiversity loss or the contamination of air, soil and water, and potential conflicts with local communities; stresses the need for a transition to renewable energy in the mining and refining sectors; notes, therefore, the need for an active industry policy to support the sector in its transformation with access to affordable sources of clean energy; further notes the favourable circumstances for low-emission and sustainable mining activities in the EU and asks for sourcing possibilities in CRM-rich Member States to be further explored;

3. Warns that the EU’s transition to climate neutrality should not replace reliance on fossil fuels with reliance on raw materials; stresses that the transition should decrease the EU’s dependence on imported CRMs; further stresses the role that innovation, new technologies, the minimisation of resource consumption and the maintenance and reuse valuable raw materials within the EU can play in reducing dependence on CRMs;

4. Notes that the development and future large-scale deployment of technologies, including emerging digital applications, renewable electricity generation and batteries for electric vehicles and light means of transport, will boost demand for certain CRMs and other raw materials; calls for it to be taken into account that rising climate and digital ambitions by countries increases competition in global markets and puts an additional strain on the security of their supply in Europe;

5.  Calls on the Commission to carefully review the criticality assessment methodology before 2023, ahead of the publication of the next list of CRMs, in order to assess whether the list needs broadening, taking into account the development of the international situation related to CRMs, scenarios for future demand for CRMs and other raw materials, and social and ecological criteria based on the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and the SDGs, to get a broader picture of extraction conditions across the globe; further calls on the Commission to duly take into account all environmental externalities related to extraction and processing in its supply risk analysis; also calls for a comprehensive debate involving all stakeholders;

6. Calls on the Commission to review the criticality assessment methodology before 2023, ahead of the publication of the next list of CRMs;

7. Calls on the Commission to pay attention not only to CRMs but also to the potential criticality of other raw materials needed for strong supply chains, the continuity of production and the twin transition, and their availability from EU sources, also taking into account natural mineral scarcity; underlines that, in addition to specialised minerals, ‘commonly produced’ minerals such as copper, helium and nickel are also becoming critical as demand for them increases in a climate-neutral society;

8. Asks the Commission to take a holistic approach when assessing the implications of several low-carbon, renewable and digital technologies competing for the same CRMs and to examine critical supply chains, also with regard to the needs of individual sectors; stresses the importance of ensuring that the energy-efficiency-first principle, zero emissions and resource-efficient solutions prevail;

9. Asks the Commission to make sure that national resilience and recovery plans under NextGenerationEU tackle the challenges linked to economically, environmentally and socially sustainable CRM supply; asks the Member States to invest more in CRM recycling and include CRM requirements, sources of supply and costs in their strategic recovery plans;

10. Calls for investment in the training and reskilling of workers, including through the Just Transition Mechanism, as mining skills can be transferred to metal and mineral exploitation, processing and recycling, preferably in the same regions; calls on the Commission to ensure that respective funding also addresses the social, employment and environmental impacts of the transition in former mining areas;

11. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create, as soon as possible, an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on CRMs to strategically and sustainably plan for our demand for the twin transition, covering requirements, sources of supply and (social, environmental and financial) costs; stresses that the IPCEI should cover all the relevant topics in order to reduce criticality and dependence, such as recycling, reuse, substitution, reduction of material use and mining; highlights that these projects should unlock the unfulfilled potential in CRM-rich EU countries that have large untapped sources;

12. Calls on the Commission to promote research and development on and skills and competencies relating to CRMs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a growth strategy for EU high-tech technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, wind turbines, electric traction motors, photovoltaic technology, robotics, drones, 3D printing and a broad range of digital technologies and medical devices;

13. Calls on the Commission to conduct a comprehensive, scientific and evidence-based impact assessment to determine the minimum volumes of CRMs of strategic importance required for the twin transition;

14. Notes that for the EU, reliable and fully operational value chains, including prospecting and recycling, play a key role and are a prerequisite for achieving the goals of the European Green Deal, the EU industrial strategy and the twin transition and for securing its future industrial competitiveness and innovation capacity;

15. Believes that funding opportunities for the sustainable production, processing or recycling of all CRMs listed in the Commission communication on critical raw materials resilience is indispensable;

16. Calls on the Commission to propose science-based sustainability criteria for defining what constitutes a sustainable investment in the mining sector under the Taxonomy Regulation; emphasises the need to enable the EU mining industry to contribute to the twin green and digital transitions;

17. Calls for EU support and funding for the technological development of CRMs to improve efficiency, substitution, recycling processes and closed material cycles; underlines, in particular, the need for specific financial instruments and targeted research and innovation (R&I) funds for recycling processes and welcomes the proposal to promote, in 2021, CRM research and innovation on waste processing, advanced materials and substitution under Horizon Europe, the European Regional Development Fund and national R&I programmes; further stresses the importance of R&I for increasing the feasibility of refining processes, especially of mine tailings and in small-scale mines; calls on the Commission to introduce support schemes encouraging innovation in new mining techniques and new small-scale mining projects; calls for the development of new and innovative technologies in the field of sustainable CRM mining in the EU;

18. Calls on the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the other EU institutions, in cooperation with international partners, to provide technical and strategic financial support for long-term strategic CRM investment projects, including to find new tools for sharing risks in the mining sector, and to promote and support investments in research on sustainable CRM sourcing and processing and on refining sites, to make them compliant with EU rules and high social and environmental standards, thereby ensuring a level playing field;

Strategic autonomy and resilience

19. Welcomes the creation of the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA), and, in the light of the geopolitical situation worldwide and potential trade tensions with rich non-EU producer countries, its current focus on the most critical CRMs, namely REE and magnets, and on quantitative domestic and non-EU sourcing targets, with the aim of supporting long-term supply relationships for a huge range of small and large manufacturers in the EU and reducing the current reliance on a few non-EU countries; underlines ERMA’s role as an ‘investment pipeline’ and encourages it to further engage on pre-assessments to unlock public and private investments for environmentally assessed and sustainable CRM projects;

20. Considers it important to further develop ERMA, mainly with regard to materials which are of great importance for the twin transition, like CRMs needed for energy storage and conversion;

21. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to launch a monitoring system, through the future Observatory of Critical Technologies, of current dependencies and the risks of future technological dependencies, and calls for close cooperation between the observatory and those working to monitor demand for CRMs;

22. Regrets that the creation of strategic stockpiling is not yet part of the action plan and calls on the Commission to also focus on securing supplies of CRMs in the EU by encouraging Member States to carry out strategic stockpiling as part of a coordinated approach, where analysis deems it appropriate; believes that strategic stockpiling in combination with other strategic measures contributes to reducing CRM dependencies; underlines that increasing availability should go hand in hand with a decrease in demand by looking at the entire value chain – design, operation and end of life;

23. Believes that awareness of possible scarcity problems with CRMs is too low and should be improved; calls on the Commission to expand ERMA in order to increase cooperation between industrial actors throughout the value chain, Member States, regions and non-EU countries, trade unions, civil society, research and technology organisations, investors and non-governmental organisations within the sectors of the EU economy most affected by bottlenecks in CRM supply, either through the framework offered by ERMA or by forming sector-specific industry and stakeholder alliances; emphasises the employment potential of domestic projects and therefore calls for a comprehensive social dialogue to be promoted; stresses, in this regard, the urgent need for closer partnerships between CRM actors, especially in mining regions, and downstream users, notably other industrial alliances, and for common awareness and an obligation to ensure value chains are sustainable and circular;

24. Believes that more coordination and joint efforts are necessary to develop resilient supply chains to meet the demand for current and future CRMs for the EU’s industrial needs, in order to avoid supply chain disruptions, reduce dependency and maintain high social and environmental standards; calls on the Commission to ensure that, in the EU, the assessment of imports and exports and global supply of and demand for CRMs, the coordination of stockpiling and the monitoring of CRM sourcing are implemented in a coherent and cohesive way, for example by establishing a CRM taskforce;

25. Asks the Commission to diversify supply chains for both primary and secondary sources and calls for better transparency regarding information on supply chains;

26. Notes that increasing tensions between major powers have exposed strategic vulnerabilities for the EU, particularly in securing key resources including CRMs and processed material; further notes that monitoring commodity dependencies and securing access to CRMs can ensure the greater resilience of sustainable supply chains; notes that in the transition to a circular economy, particular attention should be paid to key supply chains where the EU’s dependence on CRMs is particularly high;

27. Reiterates the circular economy potential of optimised use of products and services; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support new sustainable and circular business models in the new sustainable products initiative, including product-as-a-service, provided they save resources, reduce environmental impacts and guarantee consumer protection; calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate these approaches by introducing regulatory frameworks;

28. Considers it important to support a circular economy approach throughout the value chain, from design to material recovery, of the key technologies for the energy, digital and mobility transitions, such as wind plants, solar plants, battery production, electric mobility and smart grids; calls on the Commission to make the transition to a circular economy a priority, reducing the EU’s import dependence, improving resource efficiency, optimising resource consumption and keeping and reusing valuable raw materials within the EU; recalls its demand in its resolution on the New Circular Economy Action Plan to consider proposing, based on a comprehensive impact assessment, clear and easily understandable harmonised labelling on durability, which could take the form of an index, and reparability, which could take the form of a uniform repair score;

29. Calls on the Commission to strengthen cooperation with non-EU countries on the sustainable sourcing of CRMs, particularly like-minded partners, as well as in its engagement at the World Trade Organization (WTO);

Closing material loops

30. Underlines the need to build well-functioning secondary CRM markets in order to guarantee constant secondary CRM flows to strengthen the EU’s industrial ecosystems and to keep jobs in the manufacturing sector; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to examine the balance of imports and exports of secondary CRMs in the EU and to rapidly establish a market observatory for key secondary materials, including CRMs; stresses that CRM treatment in non-EU countries needs to comply with EU standards; notes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach; stresses that the achievement of clean and safe material cycles is a prerequisite for the creation of a credible secondary raw materials market in the EU;

31. Welcomes the proposal to map the potential supply of secondary CRMs from EU stocks, waste and the processing of by-products; encourages the Commission to make this mapping exercise a priority and carry it out earlier than envisaged; encourages the Commission, furthermore, to extend it to current available technologies used to decrease demand for CRMs and increase the reuse of CRMs in the supply chain; stresses the need to encourage the introduction of collaborative instruments for the CRM market, such as an EU raw materials platform, which should also cover circulating product fluxes and their trends, in order to evaluate which secondary materials can be recycled;

32. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to unlock the potential of secondary processing projects through specific incentives, including expedited licensing, and to provide incentives for recovering CRMs to ensure reliable, secure and sustainable access to them;

33. Notes the importance of waste recycling given the significant presence of CRMs in electrical and electronic equipment; notes that the increase in recycled volumes might not be sufficient in the long term to reduce mining; further notes that by moving towards a more circular economy, 700 000 jobs[28] could be created, especially additional jobs in recycling plants and repair services; notes that disassembly and recycling is a major opportunity to bring industrial jobs back to the EU; further highlights that the development of recycling can be used to respond to future raw material needs;

34. Notes that the share of collected recyclable lithium-ion traction batteries is expected to grow markedly by the mid-2030s, thus creating a significant secondary source of supply;

35. Notes that for industrial CRM recycling processes to be successful, massive private and public investment is still needed in sorting, pre-processing and recovery infrastructure, in innovation, research and the scaling up of technologies, and in skills, which will provide job opportunities that are projected to vastly increase in the coming decades; calls on the Commission to provide incentives for the recycling and recovery of CRMs from mining, processing and commercial waste streams to ensure reliable, secure and sustainable access to them;

36. Encourages the Commission to propose minimum recycled CRM content targets and dedicated CRM recycling targets accompanied by a robust monitoring framework, drawing inspiration from the proposal for a regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries and based on a comprehensive, scientific and evidence-based impact assessment assessing the minimum volumes of CRMs required for products that will facilitate the twin transition, the percentage of this demand that could be covered via recycling in line with existing assessments, and the availability of the necessary technology; notes that any reduction targets for primary raw materials should not lead to the overall raw material yield dipping below these minimum volumes;

37. Recognises that brownfield sites (industrial waste dumps and mine tailing dams) often contain discarded CRMs, REE and other minerals and metals used in technology products; therefore encourages the documentation, evaluation, and extraction of the valuable materials found on these brownfield sites, wherever possible and practicable; underlines the need for improved refining technologies to be covered under the relevant research, development and innovation funding mechanisms to unlock this potential;

38. Underlines that stronger controls for EU exports of key CRM waste products are needed and that a level playing field for recycling operators who meet the necessary standards for safe and efficient recovery needs to be established; calls on the Commission, when it revises the Waste Shipment Regulation, to prevent the illegal export of waste products containing CRMs; calls for the setting of requirements that only allow waste products containing CRMs to be exported with a guarantee that they will be processed in the destination country under conditions equivalent to EU social and environmental standards;

39. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enhance efforts to properly collect and recycle end-of-life-products with CRMs instead of stockpiling them in households or landfills or incinerating them;

40. Asks the Commission to propose product design measures, tailored to different product categories, for the easy identification and removal of parts or components containing CRMs, especially with regard to post-consumer waste, in addition to eco-design requirements to significantly improve the longevity, durability, reparability, modularity, reusability and recyclability of end-of-life products manufactured or sold in the EU; stresses that these measures should create competitive advantages for EU businesses, should not place a disproportionate financial burden on them, and should trigger innovation;

41. Believes that substitution is helpful where a CRM could be substituted by an abundant material, but has little benefit if the substitute itself is not sustainable, leaves the finite nature of resources unaddressed, is critical or might become so because of the substitution; recognises the importance of maintaining the quality performance of the products and their economic viability; calls on the Commission to encourage and increase research on and innovation of substitutes for CRMs for different uses;

Sourcing from the EU

42. Notes that while smart product design, the reuse of materials, substitution with recycled materials and promoting the reduction of materials and consumption footprints can significantly reduce primary demand, and its potential should be fully exploited, responsible and sustainable CRM sourcing with prior impact assessment to mitigate potential social and environmental impacts is needed when CRM supply cannot be kept economically viable by the measures mentioned or would lead to lower quality products;

43. Highlights that primary and secondary sourcing in the EU is subject to the highest environmental and social standards worldwide, which have to be properly enforced, provides thousands of highly qualified jobs and is an indispensable prerequisite for the green and digital transitions; calls, therefore, on all actors to promote responsible and sustainable CRM sourcing projects in the EU to support local production and raise awareness of the environmental footprints of imports of CRMs from outside the EU; considers that this must be set through an open, transparent and science-based process, with the early involvement of relevant stakeholders and local communities;

44. Strongly believes that responsible sourcing in the EU can only be based on an effective social dialogue promoting the health and safety of workers, securing decent jobs and working conditions and protecting workers’ rights by promoting gender equality; calls on the Member States to ensure workers in this sector are protected with appropriate personal protective equipment;

45. Notes the opportunity to develop a responsible and sustainable battery value chain by sourcing CRMs such as graphite, cobalt and lithium from new facilities in the EU;

46. Notes the Commission’s plan to roll out earth observation programmes and remote sensing for resource exploration, operations and post-closure environmental management; points out that in-service regulatory oversight can be enhanced with the use of remote sensing methods;

47. Notes that the reorientation towards the circular economy in many EU industries and services requires specific skills and competencies to ensure high environmental performance and worker safety, and emphasises the specific role that first movers, SMEs and start-ups are playing in this transition; further notes that the mining sector is being increasingly automated, while recycling and remanufacturing are still more labour-intensive; underlines the importance of maintaining, developing and building up relevant expertise and skills in mining and processing technologies as well as recycling and other relevant technologies in the EU in relation to both CRMs and by-products, as some of them can be used for the production of highly advanced chemical products; notes with regret that raw materials currently mined in the EU often need to be exported to Asia for refining, as the relevant know-how and technology have been lost in the EU, which constitutes another dependency;

48. Calls on the Commission to request that industrial side streams containing CRMs be effectively used; underlines that especially in the mining industry, there is a great deal of potential for the recovery and separation of rare earths;

49. Notes the important role of Member States in increasing the sustainable domestic supply of CRMs from primary and secondary sources; calls on the Member States to improve the timeliness, predictability and transparency of the authorisation processes for prospecting and sourcing projects without lowering environmental and social standards;

50. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make sure that sustainable CRM sourcing is based on an approach diligently balancing both the EU’s increased need for sustainably sourced CRMs and the need to protect nature and biodiversity;

51. Highlights that improved and more flexible predictability and efficiency, as well as prioritising key enablers such as a competitive renewable and transitional low-carbon energy supply, will help to unlock necessary investments;

52. Expects the Commission to provide further details on the operationalisation of CRM projects as an alternative business model and a source of regional employment in coal mining and other regions in transition;

Diversification

53. Urges the Commission to foster relations with all existing CRM supplier countries of the EU, to systematically and strategically build new CRM partnerships, in cooperation with our allies, where possible, taking into account the sovereignty of non-EU countries over their resources, so as to ensure that CRM becomes a source of welfare for developing countries, to promote the participation of SMEs and make this endeavour a horizontal task of its external and internal policies, and to present the results in 2021; welcomes the Commission’s plans to establish strong and supportive international partnerships by endorsing a global agenda on raw materials, aiming for EU strategic partnerships that ensure both security of supply and development benefits;

54. Stresses that if the European Green Deal simply displaces the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions to its trading partners, it will have no impact at all on climate change; urges the EU, therefore, to push for enforceable multilateral agreements on containing global warming and exporting its environmental standards, including for sourcing and processing; considers that the EU will need to develop new trade and investment agreements, new models of financial and technical assistance and, more generally, a new approach to international diplomacy aimed at ensuring a level playing field;

55. Welcomes the EU’s commitment to responsible and sustainable sourcing and encourages the Commission to take the standard for responsible mining developed by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance as a starting point, taking into consideration the needs of SMEs; stresses the need to underpin this commitment with concrete technical support, knowledge transfer, building of skills, institutions and legal frameworks, institution-building and political dialogue with partner countries; stresses the need for homogeneous policies related to ethical standards for CRM sourcing; stresses the need to mobilise more state and private actors to also subscribe to and implement sustainability standards;

56. Welcomes the Commission’s public commitment to introducing a legislative proposal on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability in 2021, and insists that this legislation contribute to addressing human rights abuses and social and environmental standards in value chains; recalls its resolution with recommendations to the Commission on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability;

57. Believes that international agreements should pave the way for more responsible and sustainable sourcing globally; calls for enhanced cooperation to develop international agreements for better monitoring, notification and implementation of CRM export restrictions to promote responsible sourcing and increase circularity in this sector;

58. Reiterates its call in its resolution on a new EU-Africa Strategy for fair and sustainable exploitation of CRMs in Africa; supports the Commission in its endeavours to conclude new CRM partnerships with African countries to strengthen the value chain in Africa to make it ethically, environmentally and technologically more sustainable and enable EU support for capacity building;

59. Calls on the Commission to strengthen standardisation activities with regard to CRM-related high-quality components in relevant international fora, since this is important for EU companies, in particular SMEs;

60. Calls for the scaling up of sustainable agricultural practices beneficial to sustainable phosphorus management; highlights the synergies of such practices with reduced climate and biodiversity footprints;

61. Asks the Commission to propose effective EU-wide collection scheme rules to increase collection rates of waste products containing CRMs; calls on the Commission to assess, among other options for extended producer responsibility, introducing deposit refund schemes in EU waste legislation, in particular in the WEEE Directive, taking into account the characteristics of different products, while ensuring the schemes are compatible across Member States, in order to incentivise consumers to bring their end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment – particularly small items – to dedicated collection and recycling facilities, building on positive experience from deposit refund schemes for glass and plastics in many Member States;

62. Regrets that the low level of recycling in some uses[29] and the export of aluminium waste and scrap[30] have led to a lower end-of-life recycling input rate (EOL-RIR) than could have otherwise been achieved; stresses that the EU should aim to put in place measures to achieve 100 % EOL-RIR for aluminium;

63. Calls on the Commission to prioritise CRM extraction from existing domestic mines – i.e. from mine tailings, waste rock, landfills and through more effective urban mining – in preference to new mining, if sustainable, i.e. if the environmental impacts, including from energy and chemical use, are smaller; stresses that this extraction and subsequent restoration must be carried out using the best available techniques, guaranteeing best ecological performance and economic viability;

64. Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the post-extraction phase of mining projects and the end-of-life phase of CRMs, in accordance with the waste hierarchy established in the Waste Framework Directive, and especially where CRMs are also hazardous substances;

65. Believes that mining permits and concessions should include requirements for the safe, efficient and sustainable recovery and processing of all economically and technically recoverable CRMs; asks the Commission to urgently implement Parliament’s demands in its resolution on implementation of the Mining Waste Directive; reiterates that the questionnaire currently used as a reporting system under Article 18 of the directive is not fit for purpose, and asks the Commission to create a harmonised, digitised and transparent EU registration system that is based on harmonised definitions of and treatment criteria for mining waste and that includes all the relevant environmental impact data, including the content concentrations of waste deposits;

66. Calls on the Commission to tighten enforcement and ensure full implementation of current EU environmental legislation and to propose amendments to legislation where necessary;

67. Encourages a comprehensive assessment of the mining sector’s inclusion in the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive given the high environmental impact of mining activities, the on-average large size of mining projects, the variations in the pollution management standards applied in mining sites across the EU, and the potential expansion of CRM mining activities in the EU; suggests that best available techniques be identified for mine restoration specifically relating to soil and water;

68. Encourages the Commission to review the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive to ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out for mining projects of all sizes, and that these assessments are performed by an independent third party;

69. Considers that mining emissions and CRM imports should be covered by the future carbon border adjustment mechanism;

70. Believes that EU legislation and international conventions should prevent mining from taking place in protected areas, i.e. Natura 2000 areas and Ramsar sites, other state-designated and supranational conservation areas (e.g. UNESCO world heritage sites), indigenous and community conservation areas, the deep seas and the Arctic; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider amending the relevant articles of the Birds and Habitats Directives to achieve this objective;

71. Recalls the Commission’s commitment to ensure marine minerals in the international seabed cannot be extracted or used before the effects of deep sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities have been sufficiently researched, the risks are understood, and it is proven that the technologies and operational practices do no serious harm to the environment, in line with the precautionary principle, and calls for Parliament and the Council to make the same commitment; encourages the Commission to translate this commitment into concrete actions to protect these highly vulnerable ecosystems;

72. Calls on the Commission to consider legislative options in line with the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions to ensure that local authorities adopt and enforce the right of local communities to effective and inclusive participation in permit procedures for new mining prospecting and extraction projects, throughout all stages of mining projects and when permit requests for the extension of existing mines are submitted, and to ensure that local communities have the right of recourse to effective redress mechanisms governed by independent courts and oversight bodies free from any conflict of interest;

73. Welcomes the emphasis on CRMs in the Commission’s communication on the Trade Policy Review; calls for an assertive trade policy emphasising the diversification and resilience of supply chains, and prioritising the improvement of global and EU mechanisms to create a favourable trade environment for EU industry;

74. Stresses that EU industry faces fierce international competition for access to raw materials and is vulnerable to export restriction measures by non-EU countries; acknowledges that a global increase in demand is likely to lead to an increase in prices and encourages the Commission to present an analysis of this point;

75. Calls on the Commission to diversify the supply sources of CRMs as much as possible, increase resource efficiency and reduce current reliance on a few non-EU countries by supporting investment which engages EU and global partners and SMEs as a part of a long-term international sourcing strategy; stresses that this goal should be achieved by strengthening existing partnerships and trade agreements and building new strategic agreements or EU joint ventures with resource-rich and other like-minded sourcing countries, in accordance with clearly defined priorities; welcomes in that sense the ongoing dialogue with Canada, Australia and Chile, aiming to strengthen trade relations in the area of CRMs; calls on the Commission to further reinforce cooperation during the next EU-US-Japan Conference on Critical Materials; emphasises the need for closer cooperation with key international suppliers in the Western Balkans, eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as with China and other developing countries in the global south;

76. Underlines that future EU free trade and partnership agreements can provide not only greater supply security but also a reliable political and economic framework, and that they should include specific provisions on CRMs, as announced by the Commission in its Trade for All Strategy, in order to promote cooperation, ensure compliance with international commitments, eliminate and avoid export restrictions and comply with the current rules for pre- and post-establishment of foreign direct investments; calls on the Commission to further enhance the monitoring and enforcement of free trade agreements, including trade and sustainable development chapters, to ensure that commitments and provisions on the responsible sourcing of CRMs are defined and are met by trading partners and that the possible concerns of communities affected by extractive activities are considered; underlines that this should be among the priority tasks of the Chief Trade Enforcement Officer;

77. Calls on the Commission to launch a discussion at the WTO on the constraints placed on the scaling up of a circular economy by local content requirement measures, to build a stronger partnership with different world regions, in particular Africa, and to ensure that free trade agreements reflect the enhanced objectives of the circular economy;

78. Calls for rules of origin to be used in a stricter way to safeguard raw material production and prevent circumvention in regions where operators are subject to less stringent sustainability and industrial subsidy requirements; underlines that any new sourcing activities by companies operating in the EU market have to be consistent with the Conflict Minerals Regulation, the rules on responsible sourcing described in the Non-Financial Reporting Directive and international standards for responsible commodity sourcing; calls for a ban on the import of CRMs linked to human and workers’ rights violations such as forced labour or child labour;

79. Underlines that a fully functioning rules-based multilateral trading system is key to ensuring open and sustainable trade flows of CRMs; expresses concern at the use of export restrictions on CRMs by some WTO members, including China, and urges all members to refrain from pursuing such policies; calls on the Commission, therefore, to use international fora to curtail such distortive export restrictions on CRMs; renews its call on the Commission, in this regard, to redouble its efforts to achieve an ambitious reform of the WTO in order to fight distortions of international trade and unfair trade practices, provide a stable and predictable international trading environment and guarantee fair and effective competition worldwide;

80. Welcomes the Joint Statement of the Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Ministers of Japan, the US and the Commission, and supports the proposed definition of industrial subsidies; welcomes the fact that the definition extends beyond those set out in the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the EU Anti-Subsidy Regulation, and provides a broader definition of a subsidy; believes that such measures are crucial in levelling the international playing field in the area of CRMs, as industrial subsidies, particularly in China, pose a serious threat to EU industry and workers since they distort international competition;

81. Welcomes the joint EU-US initiative on addressing global steel and aluminium excess capacity and calls for comprehensive and expeditious measures to hold to account countries such as China that support trade-distorting policies; reminds the Commission, however, that for the time being the US Section 232 tariffs remain in full force and that this issue must urgently be resolved;

82. Agrees with the Commission’s assessment that shifting EU import payments for CRMs from other international currencies to the euro would have some advantages, such as reducing price volatility and helping to make EU importers and non-EU exporters less dependent on US dollar funding markets;

°

° °

83. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.



 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY (30.6.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on a European strategy for critical raw materials</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2011(INI))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>Sara Matthieu</Depute>

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas global materials use is projected to more than double from 79 Gt in 2011 to 167 Gt in 2060; whereas global metals use is forecast to increase from 8 to 20 billion tonnes in 2060 (+150 %); whereas European Commission and OECD projections indicate that the transition towards digital, highly energy-efficient and climate-neutral economies will lead to a higher demand for critical raw materials and primary materials;

B. whereas half of the total greenhouse gas emissions come from resource extraction and processing[31] and 2 % from the mining sector[32]; whereas extraction and processing of natural resources in all sectors is responsible for more than 90 % of biodiversity loss and water stress[33]; whereas metals extraction and use have a wide range of polluting consequences, including toxic effects on humans and ecosystems, such as bad air quality, contaminated soils, deforestation and habitat loss[34]; whereas around 10 % of global primary energy is used to extract, transport and refine metal resources across all sectors; whereas the relative share of global primary energy used for metals is set to increase by 40 % by 2030[35];

C. whereas critical raw materials (CRMs) are non-renewable resources; whereas growth in materials use, coupled with the environmental consequences of material extraction, processing and waste, is likely to increase the pressure on the resource bases of our economies[36];

D. whereas the extraction of raw materials in the deep sea bed puts marine life - including species and habitats - under pressure across Europe, and adds to cumulative impacts that reduce the overall resilience of marine ecosystems[37]; whereas it is unlikely that the target of achieving good environmental status for European marine waters by 2020 was achieved[38]; whereas globally oceans, seas and marine resources are increasingly being threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities;

E. whereas mining poses multiple risks of pollution to surface and groundwater; whereas such pollution can contaminate and even destroy aquatic fauna a long way downstream of mining sites; whereas such pollution also affects plant growth and land animals that drink the water; whereas neighbouring populations are exposed to the contamination through their consumption of polluted water, as are plants and animals that have consumed the water;

F. whereas seismic sounding and offshore drilling cause significant noise pollution in the oceans and seas, and whereas many marine animals are directly affected by this noise pollution, sometimes fatally;

G. whereas significant amounts of CRMs are today either sourced or processed in countries with less stringent social and environmental rules than the EU;

H. whereas there is a need to guarantee the sustainable and ethical sourcing of raw materials, including CRMs, in order to ensure the supply of metals and minerals for the technologies required for Green Deal goals;

I. whereas only a few metals are recycled relatively well, with most being poorly recycled, in particular rare earth metals; whereas waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing recycling streams, and whereas less than 40 % of WEEE is currently recycled in the EU; whereas an increase in urban mining would help to reduce dependence on foreign suppliers and limit environmental damage; whereas WEEE poses significant health and safety risks if not properly managed by companies in the value chain as it contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous substances; whereas there is often a lack of information on recovery and recycling potential of individual CRMs;

J. whereas up to 90 % of the world’s e-waste is illegally traded or dumped[39], as thousands of tonnes of e-waste are being falsely declared as second-hand goods; whereas it is estimated that every year 352 474 metric tonnes of e-waste are exported from EU countries to countries in the South where social, health and safety regulations are less stringent than those applied in the Union[40];

1. Recalls that in its resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan for science-based, it demanded binding EU targets for 2030 in order to significantly reduce the EU material and consumption footprints and that they should be brought within planetary boundaries by 2050 at the latest, using the indicators to be adopted by the end of 2021 as part of the updated monitoring framework;

2. Requests that the Commission include all possible options for minimising resource consumption in its CRMs demand scenarios;

3. Highlights the need to promote reductions of material and consumption footprints in order to reduce the pressure on CRM supply chains; stresses that this is also key to minimising the increase in the demand for CRMs from green technologies, facilitating the implementation of the Green Deal and the transition to a climate-neutral economy; calls on the Commission to make the transition to a circular economy a priority, reducing the EU’s import dependence, improving resource efficiency, optimising resource consumption and keeping and reusing valuable raw materials within the EU;

4. Considers that the substitution of a CRM with a non-critical raw material that offers similar performance is an important way to reduce CRM dependency on third countries; asks the Commission and Member States to ensure long-term support and incentives for research and development in this field; points, however, to the limits of substitution in so far as it only means the transfer of demand to other metals, leaving the issue of pressure on metals and the finite nature of resources unaddressed;

5. Notes that for certain CRMs, such as phosphorus, no substitute exists; notes, furthermore, that although phosphate rock already appeared in the second CRM list in 2014 as the EU is highly dependent on it, there has not been any concrete structural measure put in place to improve the efficiency of phosphorus use in European agriculture, a sector that uses 95 %of phosphorus in the Union; underlines that the negative phosphorus balance in agriculture should be addressed by increased use of recycled phosphorus materials instead of by sourcing phosphate rock, and that further initiatives are needed to improve the circularity of phosphorus; calls for the scaling up of sustainable agricultural practices beneficial to sustainable phosphorus management; highlights the synergies of such practices with reduced climate and biodiversity footprints;

6. Asks the Commission to propose product design measures, tailored to different product categories, for easy identification and removal of parts or components containing CRMs, especially from post-consumer waste, in addition to eco-design requirements to significantly improve longevity, durability, reparability, modularity, reusability and recyclability of end-of-life products manufactured or sold in the EU;

7. Reiterates its call in its resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan for clear and harmonised labelling on durability and reparability of products in the form of a repair index; asks the Commission to also assess the possible adoption of a recyclability index for all electrical and electronic products manufactured or sold in the EU, analogous to the EU Energy Label;

8. Reiterates the circular economy potential of optimised use of products and services; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support new sustainable and circular business models in the new Sustainable Products Initiative, including product-as-a-service, provided they save resources, reduce environmental impacts and guarantee consumer protection; calls on the Commission and Member States to facilitate these approaches through enabling regulatory frameworks;

9. Requests the Commission to propose effective EU-wide collection scheme rules to increase collection rates of waste products containing CRMs; calls on the Commission to assess, among other options for extended producer responsibility, introducing deposit refund schemes in EU waste legislation, in particular in Directive 2012/19/EU, taking into account the characteristics of different products, while ensuring the schemes are compatible across Member States, in order to incentivise consumers to bring their end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment - particularly small items - to dedicated collection and recycling facilities, building on positive experience from deposit refund schemes for glass and plastics in many Member States;

10. Calls on the Commission to propose ambitious minimum recycled CRM content targets and dedicated CRM recycling targets, specified for each product category, accompanied by a robust monitoring framework, drawing inspiration from the proposal for a Regulation on batteries and waste batteries (COM(2020)0798); calls on the Commission to come forward, in particular, with legislative proposals based on a comprehensive impact assessment to gradually replace input-based recycling targets in the WEEE Directive with output-based recycling targets for different product categories in order to increase the recovery of CRMs from WEEE; welcomes the ongoing Commission assessment of potential improvements to EU recycling standards for electrical and electronic equipment with a view to increasing recovery and recycling of CRM content;

11. Asks the Commission to ensure consistency between the EU CRM Strategy and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, including effective risk management measures for the safe use and recycling of essential metals where substitution is not technically or economically feasible;

12. Calls for mandatory minimum treatment standards on process efficiency, environmental performance and safety for repairers and recyclers of key product groups, taking account of workers’ exposure to toxic and radioactive material contained in WEEE; highlights the importance of equipping workers in repair and recycling facilities with personal protective equipment, including in the informal repair and recycling sector; reiterates in this regard Parliament’s position on the fourth proposal amending the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive;

13. Stresses that the 2020 CRM List added bauxite, which can be refined into aluminium; notes that while bauxite is non-recyclable as it is consumed during all of its uses, aluminium is infinitely recyclable without downgrading its quality; regrets that the low level of recycling in some uses[41]and the export of aluminium waste and scrap[42] have led to a lower end-of-life recycling input rate (EOL-RIR) than could have otherwise been achieved; stresses that the EU should aim to put in place measures to achieve 100 % EOL-RIR for aluminium;

14. Recalls its demands in its resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan regarding the revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation; calls on the Commission, when revising the Waste Shipment Regulation, to set requirements that only allow for the export of waste products, particularly those containing CRMs, if it is guaranteed that they will be treated under social and environmental standards equivalent to those applied in the EU; calls for stricter enforcement and market surveillance to prevent illegal exports of waste products containing CRMs; urges the Commission, as part of the upcoming revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation and of the Ship Recycling Regulation in 2023, to ensure that CRMs from marine vessels sent for dismantling do not leave the European Union as waste;

15. Underlines the critical role of creating of a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to rapidly establish a market observatory for key secondary materials, including CRMs;

16. Points out that while the main goal of CRM resilience is to establish a way towards greater sustainability and security, its scope should be extended to all raw materials, including secondary raw materials that are a strategically important part of key value chains;

17. Recognises the need to upskill and reskill workers in order to promote the transition from ‘brown’ skills to ‘green’ skills; notes that the reorientation towards the circular economy in many EU industries and services requires specific skills and competences to ensure high environmental performance and worker safety, and emphasises the specific role that first movers, SMEs and start-ups are playing in this regard; calls on the Commission to recognise this role in the updates of the Industrial Strategy for Europe and the SME Strategy; requests the Commission to include training and reskilling programmes for the circular economy as a priority in the EU Skills Agenda and in EU funding programmes; calls on the Commission to ensure sufficient funds for reskilling, and to address the social, employment, economic and environmental impacts of this transition in former mining areas;

18. Calls on the Commission to implement strict standards for public disclosure, transparency and reporting in extractive industries;

19. Stresses that victims of economic, environmental and health damage from CRM mining and processing activities should be guaranteed effective access to legal redress; recalls, in this regard, its resolution of 10 March 2021 with recommendations to the Commission on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the socially and environmentally responsible sourcing of all CRMs, whether from the EU or outside it, and to their traceability, throughout their whole life cycle; highlights the importance of taking into account the needs of downstream operators and SMEs in the EU in this process; calls on the Commission, therefore, to pay particular attention to the mining sector in the upcoming mandatory due diligence legislation, given the significant impact of mining on the environment;

20. Welcomes in this regard the full applicability of the Conflict Minerals Regulation (EU)2017/821 from the 1 January 2021; is of the opinion, however, that the Regulation should be more ambitious in terms both of the minerals covered and the obligations imposed, and calls on the Commission to review the Regulation by 2023;

21. Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the continuous challenge of export restrictions applied by third countries and to find a solution to it; calls on the Commission to also monitor how third countries buy out CRM exports and limit the EU’s possibility of diversifying sourcing; reiterates the need to use current trade rules to the maximum by establishing a monitoring mechanism for CRM export restrictions as a policy tool in bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and by fostering a dialogue about their use;

22. Calls on the Commission to develop research programmes that contribute to mitigating supply risks, given that CRMs are directly used in the defence and aerospace industries and that their role is crucial for the development of key defence capabilities;

23. Calls on the Commission to duly take into account all environmental externalities in extraction and processing in its supply risk analysis when drawing up the CRMs list;

24. Welcomes the ambition of becoming a global leader in sustainable raw materials production; underlines that this requires coherence between all relevant policy initiatives and EU legislation;

25. Calls on the Commission and the European Raw Materials Alliance to prioritise CRM extraction from existing domestic mines, i.e. from mine tailing, waste rock, landfills and more effective urban mining, in preference to new mining, if sustainable, i.e. if environmental impacts, including energy and chemical use, are smaller; stresses that this extraction and subsequent restoration must be carried out using the best available techniques (BATs), guaranteeing best ecological performance and economic viability;

26. Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the post-extraction phase of mining projects and the end-of-life phase of CRMs, in accordance with the waste hierarchy established in the Waste Framework Directive, and especially where CRMs are also hazardous substances;

27. Believes that mining permits and concessions should include requirements for the safe, efficient and sustainable recovery and processing of all economically and technically recoverable CRMs; requests the Commission to urgently implement Parliament’s demands in its resolution of 27 April 2017 on implementation of the Mining Waste Directive; reiterates that the questionnaire currently used as reporting system under Article 18 of the Directive is not fit for purpose, and requests the Commission to create a harmonised, digitised and transparent EU registration system that is based on harmonised definitions and treatment criteria for mining waste and that includes all the relevant environmental impact data, including the content concentrations of waste deposits;

28. Asks the Commission to establish maximum thresholds for sulphur and heavy metals concentration in waste facilities in order to enhance the recovery of CRMs from mining waste and to reduce potential acid drainage and pollution, while ensuring sufficient time to adapt to these new thresholds;

29. Calls on the Commission to study the possibility of incorporating the new UN Environment Programme Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management into Union law and of developing them further, and to foster its uptake throughout the value chains of companies importing and using CRMs within the internal market;

30. Is of the opinion that, while for strategic reasons domestic CRMs should be promoted over imported ones, in the light of the objectives of the European Green Deal and in particular of the Biodiversity Strategy and the Zero-Pollution Action Plan, it should be ensured that EU environmental legislation guarantees that mining in the EU has a minimal environmental impact, and that potential new mining activities in Europe needed for the Green Deal do not simply shift the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact to other parts of the economy;

31. Calls on the Commission to tighten enforcement and ensure full implementation of current EU environmental legislation and to propose amendments to legislation where necessary;

32. Encourages a comprehensive assessment of the mining sector’s inclusion in the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive in light of the high environmental impact of mining activities, the on average large size of mining projects, the variations in the pollution management standards applied in mining sites across Europe, and the potential expansion of CRM mining activities in Europe; encourages a comprehensive assessment of the mining sector’s inclusion in the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive; suggests the identification of BATs for mine restoration specifically relating to soil and water;

33. Encourages the Commission to review the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive to ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out for mining projects of all sizes, and that this assessment is performed by an independent third party;

34. Calls on the Commission to propose science-based and strict sustainability criteria for defining what constitutes a sustainable investment in the mining sector under the Taxonomy Regulation; stresses that all subsidies related to CRMs should abide by the do-no-harm principle, in line with the commitments of the European Green Deal;

35. Underlines the need to urgently develop Horizon Europe research and innovation projects on waste processing, recycling, refurbishing and remanufacturing, advanced materials and substitution, processes for CRM extraction and processing, including from mining residues, tailing and complex streams, in order to significantly reduce environmental impacts and improve climate performance;

36. Considers that mining emissions and CRM imports should be covered by the future carbon border adjustment mechanism;

37. Considers that any measures to accelerate and facilitate mining projects under the Better Regulation agenda should not under any circumstances be detrimental to the environment and social protection, and that they should also ensure public participation;

38. Believes that EU legislation and international conventions should prevent mining from taking place in protected areas, i.e. Natura 2000 areas and Ramsar sites, other state-designated and supranational conservation areas (e.g. UNESCO world heritage sites), Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas, as well as the deep seas and the Arctic; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider amending the relevant articles of the Birds and Habitats Directives to achieve this objective;

39. Recalls the Commission’s commitment that marine minerals in the international seabed cannot be extracted or used before the effects of deep sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities have been sufficiently researched, the risks are understood, and it is proven that the technologies and operational practices do no serious harm to the environment, in line with the precautionary principle and calls for this by Parliament and the Council; encourages the Commission to translate this commitment into concrete actions to protect these highly vulnerable ecosystems;

40. Calls on the Commission to consider legislative options in line with the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions to ensure that local authorities adopt and enforce the right for local communities to effective and inclusive participation in permit procedures for new mining prospecting and extraction projects, throughout all stages of mining projects and when permit requests for the extension of existing mines are submitted, and to ensure that local communities have the right of recourse to effective redress mechanisms governed by independent courts and oversight bodies free from any conflict of interest.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

29.6.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

7

24

Members present for the final vote

Bartosz Arłukowicz, Margrete Auken, Simona Baldassarre, Marek Paweł Balt, Traian Băsescu, Aurélia Beigneux, Monika Beňová, Sergio Berlato, Alexander Bernhuber, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Pascal Canfin, Sara Cerdas, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, Esther de Lange, Christian Doleschal, Marco Dreosto, Cyrus Engerer, Eleonora Evi, Agnès Evren, Pietro Fiocchi, Andreas Glück, Catherine Griset, Jytte Guteland, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Martin Hojsík, Pär Holmgren, Jan Huitema, Yannick Jadot, Adam Jarubas, Petros Kokkalis, Ewa Kopacz, Joanna Kopcińska, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Peter Liese, Javi López, César Luena, Fulvio Martusciello, Liudas Mažylis, Tilly Metz, Silvia Modig, Dolors Montserrat, Alessandra Moretti, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Ville Niinistö, Ljudmila Novak, Jutta Paulus, Stanislav Polčák, Jessica Polfjärd, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Sándor Rónai, Rob Rooken, Silvia Sardone, Christine Schneider, Günther Sidl, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Maria Spyraki, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Nils Torvalds, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Petar Vitanov, Alexandr Vondra, Mick Wallace, Pernille Weiss, Emma Wiesner, Michal Wiezik, Tiemo Wölken, Anna Zalewska

Substitutes present for the final vote

Manuel Bompard, Annika Bruna, Kateřina Konečná, Sara Matthieu

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

45

+

ID

Aurélia Beigneux, Annika Bruna, Catherine Griset

NI

Ivan Vilibor Sinčić

PPE

Stanislav Polčák, Michal Wiezik

Renew

Pascal Canfin, Martin Hojsík, Jan Huitema, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Nils Torvalds, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Emma Wiesner

S&D

Marek Paweł Balt, Monika Beňová, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Sara Cerdas, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Cyrus Engerer, Jytte Guteland, Javi López, César Luena, Alessandra Moretti, Sándor Rónai, Günther Sidl, Petar Vitanov, Tiemo Wölken

The Left

Manuel Bompard, Petros Kokkalis, Kateřina Konečná, Silvia Modig, Mick Wallace

Verts/ALE

Margrete Auken, Eleonora Evi, Pär Holmgren, Yannick Jadot, Sara Matthieu, Tilly Metz, Ville Niinistö, Jutta Paulus

 

7

-

ECR

Sergio Berlato, Pietro Fiocchi, Joanna Kopcińska, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Rob Rooken, Alexandr Vondra, Anna Zalewska

 

24

0

ID

Simona Baldassarre, Marco Dreosto, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Silvia Sardone

PPE

Bartosz Arłukowicz, Traian Băsescu, Alexander Bernhuber, Nathalie ColinOesterlé, Christian Doleschal, Agnès Evren, Adam Jarubas, Ewa Kopacz, Esther de Lange, Peter Liese, Fulvio Martusciello, Liudas Mažylis, Dolors Montserrat, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Ljudmila Novak, Jessica Polfjärd, Christine Schneider, Maria Spyraki, Pernille Weiss

Renew

Andreas Glück

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE (14.7.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on a European strategy for critical raw materials</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2011(INI))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): <Depute>Roman Haider</Depute>

 

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1. Welcomes the new EU Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, the creation of the European Raw Materials Alliance and the emphasis on critical raw materials in the Commission’s communication on the Trade Policy Review; calls for an assertive trade policy emphasising the diversification and resilience of supply chains, and prioritising the improvement of global and EU mechanisms to create a favourable trade environment for European industry;

2. Stresses that the EU’s trade policy plays a key role in improving EU access to critical raw materials, including base metals, industrial minerals, aggregates and biotic materials, while promoting sustainable standards, good governance and responsible sourcing; notes that the EU’s 2020 reviewed list contains 30 critical raw materials, including four which have been newly added; notes further that increasing tensions between major powers have exposed strategic vulnerabilities for the EU, particularly in securing key resources including critical raw materials and processed materials, which are crucial and necessary to deliver the Green Deal and ensure the digital transformation of the EU’s economy; notes that monitoring commodity dependencies and securing access to critical raw materials can ensure the greater resilience of sustainable supply chains; stresses that this should be one of the key elements in the implementation of the EU’s open strategic autonomy;

3. Welcomes the publication of the Updated New Industrial Strategy[43] and its call for the strengthening of Europe’s open strategic autonomy and new partnerships with industry and like-minded international partners; welcomes the Commission’s ongoing work on critical supply chains and underlines the importance of aligning its different strategies and policies; stresses the risks in critical supply chains made apparent by the COVID-19 crisis and calls on the Commission to adopt an EU Resilience and Sustainable Supply Chain Strategy as a follow-up to the EU Industrial Strategy, identifying supply chains built on critical raw materials for which resilience and sustainability would be increased through supply diversification, the reshoring of processing facilities and extraction where appropriate, and stockpiling; supports the inclusion of the reporting provisions required for that analysis in the context of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive;

4. Calls in this respect for the increased cooperation of investors and all relevant stakeholders, including industrial actors along the value chain, Member States and regions, trade unions, civil society, research and technology organisations, investors and NGOs within the sectors of the EU economy most affected by bottlenecks in critical raw material supply, either through the framework offered by the European Raw Materials Alliance or by forming sector specific industry and stakeholder alliances to address shortages in the supply of critical raw materials; believes that such cooperation should aim to analyse supply chain bottlenecks, the role strategic stockpiling could play in addressing vulnerabilities, and funding for research on the exploration of new sourcing sites and technologies;

5. Considers it important to widen the scope of the European strategy for critical raw materials, whose final aim is to chart a path towards greater security and sustainability; stresses that this effort to achieve greater resilience should include and address not only critical raw materials but also all raw materials, including secondary raw materials, which are a strategic part of the key value chains;

6. Notes with concern the International Energy Agency’s 2021 projection that the energy sector’s global need for critical minerals could increase drastically by as much as six times by 2040 as a result of their use in batteries, renewable energy technologies, and grid infrastructure[44] and is convinced that the EU’s significant dependency on imports for critical raw materials, including 100 % import reliance for several specialty metals and rare earths, undermines its strategic autonomy and geopolitical objectives; stresses that, given that the EU supply and investment plans for many critical raw materials fall short of what is needed to meet internal demand and that the prices of critical raw materials are set at global level, EU industry faces high international competition in access to raw materials and is vulnerable to export restriction measures by third countries; acknowledges that a global increase in demand is likely to lead to an increase in prices and encourages the Commission to present an analysis of this point; believes that this analysis should be complemented by a strong communication strategy, explaining potential trade-offs to citizens;

7. Calls, therefore, on the Commission – apart from strengthening the domestic sourcing of raw materials – to diversify the supply sources of critical raw materials as much as possible, increase resource efficiency and reduce current reliance on a few non-EU countries by developing not only mining capabilities but also processing, refining and recycling facilities and supporting investment which engages European and global partners and SMEs as a part of a long-term international sourcing strategy; stresses that this goal should be achieved by strengthening existing partnerships and trade agreements and building new strategic agreements or EU joint ventures with resource-rich and other like-minded sourcing countries, in accordance with clearly defined priorities; welcomes in that sense the ongoing dialogue with Canada, Australia and Chile, aiming to strengthen trade relations in the area of critical raw materials; calls on the Commission to further reinforce cooperation within the framework of the EU-US-Japan Conference on Critical Materials; emphasises the need for closer cooperation with key international suppliers in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as with China and other developing countries in the Global South;

8. Emphasises that the extraction of raw materials is in many cases harmful for the environment; believes, therefore, that the EU circular economy should be enhanced by boosting resource efficiency, scaling up the recycling of primary and secondary raw materials, fostering circular supply chains, advancing end-of-life value chains, and substituting and reducing the use of critical raw materials within value chains where possible, e.g. through synthetic alternatives; calls on the Commission, in the light of the uncertainties linked to the evolution of the geopolitical situation worldwide and the potential trade tensions with rich non-EU producer countries due to environmental and social risks, including stranded assets and the higher cost of environmental action, to focus also on securing supplies of critical raw materials in Europe by establishing strategic stockpiling where analysis deems it appropriate;

9. Underlines that future EU free trade and partnership agreements can provide not only greater supply security but also a reliable political and economic framework, and that they should include specific provisions on critical raw materials, as announced by the Commission in its Trade for All Strategy, in order to promote cooperation, ensure compliance with international commitments, eliminate and avoid export restrictions and comply with the current rules for pre- and post-establishment for foreign direct investments; calls on the Commission to further enhance the monitoring and enforcement of free trade agreements, including trade and sustainable development chapters, to ensure that commitments and provisions on the responsible sourcing of critical raw materials are defined and met by trading partners and that the possible concerns of communities affected by extractive activities are considered; underlines that this should be among the priority tasks of the Chief Trade Enforcement Officer;

10. Calls on the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the other EU institutions, in cooperation with international partners, to promote and support investments in sustainable critical raw material sourcing, processing and refining sites compliant with EU rules, thereby ensuring a level playing field; calls on the Commission to strengthen cooperation on the sustainable sourcing of critical raw materials with non-EU countries, particularly with like-minded partners such as the US, under existing and future EU policies and instruments, including enlargement, neighbourhood, development and cooperation policies, as well as in its engagement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in line with recognised international standards (e.g. those of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN Guiding Principles) and global industry initiatives on responsible sourcing; calls on the Commission to coherently align its actions on raw materials with other EU initiatives promoting sustainability in order to create a level playing field and to streamline the rule book so that policies do not overburden industry;

11. Stresses that strengthening the circular economy within the EU and improving the EU’s recycling rates for critical metals and minerals required in green and digital technologies could help Europe to improve its resilience in line with the drive for strategic open autonomy; notes, in this regard, that in the transition to a circular economy particular attention should be given to key supply chains where the EU’s dependence on critical raw materials is particularly high; calls on the Commission to advance our relations with partner countries with a view to a global circular economy by proposing a Global Circular Economy Alliance, to bring forward an international agreement on the management of natural resources, to launch a discussion at the WTO on the constraints placed on the scaling up of a circular economy by local content requirement measures, to build a stronger partnership with different world regions, in particular with Africa, and to ensure that free trade agreements reflect the enhanced objectives of the circular economy; considers it important to reinforce the availability and higher quality of secondary raw materials, including ferrous scrap and rare earths, in order to improve the resilience and circularity of critical raw material supplies;

12. Stresses that sustainable trade and responsible mining and sourcing, as well as due diligence across supply chains, must remain cornerstones in the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials; calls for rules of origin to be used in a stricter way to safeguard raw material production and prevent circumvention in regions where operators are subject to less stringent sustainability and industrial subsidy requirements; underlines that any new sourcing activities by companies operating in the EU market have to adhere to the Conflict Minerals Regulation, the rules on responsible sourcing described in the Non-Financial Reporting Directive and international standards of responsible commodity sourcing; calls for a ban on the import of critical raw materials related to human and workers’ rights violations such as forced labour or child labour;

13. Underlines that stronger controls for EU exports of key critical raw material waste streams, including electronics waste, batteries and end-of-life vehicles, as well as hazardous waste from resource extraction, are needed to avoid pollution from informal recycling in developing countries and to establish a level playing field for recycling operators who meet the necessary standards for safe and efficient recovery; requests that the Commission act quickly and effectively to review and revise the Waste Shipments Regulation, in order to prevent, through increased measures and a strengthened inspection system, the illegal and dubious export of waste products containing critical raw materials; calls for an overall requirement that waste products containing critical raw materials be exported with a guarantee that they will be processed under conditions equivalent to EU standards in the destination country so that resources are not lost through informal recycling operations, which also supports the transition to the circular economy;

14. Underlines that a fully functioning rules-based multilateral trading system is key to ensuring open and sustainable trade flows of critical raw materials; expresses concern at the use of export restrictions on critical raw materials by some WTO members, including China, and urges all Members to refrain from pursuing such policies; calls on the Commission, therefore, to use international fora to curtail such distortive export restrictions on critical raw materials; renews its call on the Commission, in this regard, to redouble its efforts towards an ambitious reform of the WTO in order to fight distortions of international trade and unfair trade practices, provide a stable and predictable international trading environment and guarantee fair and effective competition worldwide;

15. Welcomes the Joint Statement of the Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Ministers of Japan, the US and the Commission, and supports the proposed definition of industrial subsidies; welcomes the fact that the definition extends beyond the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the EU Anti-Subsidy Regulation, and provides a broader definition of a subsidy; believes that such measures are crucial in levelling the international playing field in the area of critical raw materials, as industrial subsidies, particularly in China, pose a serious threat to EU industry and workers since they distort international competition;

16. Welcomes the joint EU-US initiative on addressing global steel and aluminium excess capacity and calls for comprehensive and expeditious measures to hold to account countries such as China that support trade-distorting policies; reminds the Commission, however, that for the time being the US Section 232 tariffs remain in full force and that this issue must urgently be resolved;

17. Agrees with the Commission’s assessment that shifting EU import payments for critical raw materials from other international currencies to the euro would have some advantages, such as reducing price volatility and helping to make EU importers and non-EU exporters less dependent on US dollar funding markets;

18. Recalls that the EU’s trade policy consists of multilateral and bilateral engagement, as well as autonomous measures, and therefore:

 welcomes the Commission’s public commitment to introducing a legislative proposal on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability in 2021, and insists that this legislation contribute towards addressing abuses of human rights and social and environment standards in value chains;

 calls on the Commission to explore new technological solutions for improving traceability in global value chains and recalls that blockchain technology can contribute towards this goal;

 welcomes also the preparatory work towards a WTO-compliant Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which, once introduced, will further contribute to the sustainability of value chains and the establishment of a level playing field;

 welcomes the Commission’s plans to establish strong and supportive international partnerships by endorsing a global agenda on raw materials, aiming for EU partnerships that ensure both security of supply and developmental benefits;

 calls on the Commission to secure specific financial instruments for research and innovation funds focused on the following paths: waste processing and a concrete and significant improvement in waste-derived materials, and technologies and processes for extracting valuable raw materials from mining residues, tailings and complex streams.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

13.7.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

34

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Barry Andrews, Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Tiziana Beghin, Geert Bourgeois, Saskia Bricmont, Jordi Cañas, Miroslav Číž, Arnaud Danjean, Paolo De Castro, Markéta Gregorová, Christophe Hansen, Danuta Maria Hübner, Herve Juvin, Karin Karlsbro, Maximilian Krah, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Bernd Lange, Margarida Marques, Gabriel Mato, Sara Matthieu, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, Samira Rafaela, Inma Rodríguez-Piñero, Massimiliano Salini, Helmut Scholz, Liesje Schreinemacher, Sven Simon, Dominik Tarczyński, Mihai Tudose, Kathleen Van Brempt, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Jörgen Warborn, Iuliu Winkler, Jan Zahradil, Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez

Substitutes present for the final vote

Marek Belka, Markus Buchheit, Seán Kelly, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Manuela Ripa

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

34

+

ECR

Geert Bourgeois, Dominik Tarczyński, Jan Zahradil

ID

Markus Buchheit, Herve Juvin, Maximilian Krah, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Danilo Oscar Lancini

NI

Tiziana Beghin, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó

PPE

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Arnaud Danjean, Christophe Hansen, Danuta Maria Hübner, Seán Kelly, Gabriel Mato, Massimiliano Salini, Sven Simon, Jörgen Warborn, Iuliu Winkler, Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez

Renew

Barry Andrews, Jordi Cañas, Karin Karlsbro, Samira Rafaela, Liesje Schreinemacher

S&D

Marek Belka, Miroslav Číž, Paolo De Castro, Bernd Lange, Margarida Marques, Inma Rodríguez-Piñero, Mihai Tudose, Kathleen Van Brempt

 

2

-

Renew

Marie-Pierre Vedrenne

The Left

Helmut Scholz

 

4

0

Verts/ALE

Saskia Bricmont, Markéta Gregorová, Sara Matthieu, Manuela Ripa

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 


 

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

 

27.9.2021

 

 

 

 

+:

–:

0:

59

2

13

 

Nicola Beer, François-Xavier Bellamy, Hildegard Bentele, Tom Berendsen, Vasile Blaga, Michael Bloss, Paolo Borchia, Marc Botenga, Markus Buchheit, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Jerzy Buzek, Carlo Calenda, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Ignazio Corrao, Ciarán Cuffe, Josianne Cutajar, Nicola Danti, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Martina Dlabajová, Valter Flego, Niels Fuglsang, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Claudia Gamon, Nicolás González Casares, Christophe Grudler, András Gyürk, Henrike Hahn, Robert Hajšel, Ivo Hristov, Ivars Ijabs, Romana Jerković, Eva Kaili, Izabela-Helena Kloc, Łukasz Kohut, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Andrius Kubilius, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Thierry Mariani, Marisa Matias, Joëlle Mélin, Dan Nica, Angelika Niebler, Ville Niinistö, Aldo Patriciello, Mauri Pekkarinen, Mikuláš Peksa, Tsvetelina Penkova, Morten Petersen, Markus Pieper, Clara Ponsatí Obiols, Manuela Ripa, Robert Roos, Sara Skyttedal, Maria Spyraki, Jessica Stegrud, Beata Szydło, Riho Terras, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Marie Toussaint, Isabella Tovaglieri, Viktor Uspaskich, Henna Virkkunen, Pernille Weiss, Carlos Zorrinho

 

Erik Bergkvist, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Cornelia Ernst, Valérie Hayer, Ioannis Lagos, Elena Lizzi, Jutta Paulus, Sandra Pereira, Ernő Schaller-Baross, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, Angelika Winzig

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

27.9.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

59

2

13

Members present for the final vote

Nicola Beer, François-Xavier Bellamy, Hildegard Bentele, Tom Berendsen, Vasile Blaga, Michael Bloss, Paolo Borchia, Marc Botenga, Markus Buchheit, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Jerzy Buzek, Carlo Calenda, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Ignazio Corrao, Ciarán Cuffe, Josianne Cutajar, Nicola Danti, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Martina Dlabajová, Valter Flego, Niels Fuglsang, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Claudia Gamon, Nicolás González Casares, Christophe Grudler, András Gyürk, Henrike Hahn, Robert Hajšel, Ivo Hristov, Ivars Ijabs, Romana Jerković, Eva Kaili, Izabela-Helena Kloc, Łukasz Kohut, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Andrius Kubilius, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Thierry Mariani, Marisa Matias, Joëlle Mélin, Dan Nica, Angelika Niebler, Ville Niinistö, Aldo Patriciello, Mauri Pekkarinen, Mikuláš Peksa, Tsvetelina Penkova, Morten Petersen, Markus Pieper, Clara Ponsatí Obiols, Manuela Ripa, Robert Roos, Sara Skyttedal, Maria Spyraki, Jessica Stegrud, Beata Szydło, Riho Terras, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Marie Toussaint, Isabella Tovaglieri, Viktor Uspaskich, Henna Virkkunen, Pernille Weiss, Carlos Zorrinho

Substitutes present for the final vote

Erik Bergkvist, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Cornelia Ernst, Valérie Hayer, Ioannis Lagos, Elena Lizzi, Jutta Paulus, Sandra Pereira, Ernő Schaller-Baross, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, Angelika Winzig

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

59

+

ECR

Izabela-Helena Kloc, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Robert Roos, Beata Szydło, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Evžen Tošenovský

ID

Paolo Borchia, Markus Buchheit, Elena Lizzi, Isabella Tovaglieri

NI

András Gyürk, Clara Ponsatí Obiols, Viktor Uspaskich

PPE

François-Xavier Bellamy, Hildegard Bentele, Tom Berendsen, Vasile Blaga, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Jerzy Buzek, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Andrius Kubilius, Angelika Niebler, Aldo Patriciello, Markus Pieper, Sara Skyttedal, Maria Spyraki, Riho Terras, Henna Virkkunen, Pernille Weiss, Angelika Winzig

Renew

Nicola Beer, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Nicola Danti, Martina Dlabajová, Valter Flego, Claudia Gamon, Christophe Grudler, Valérie Hayer, Ivars Ijabs, Mauri Pekkarinen, Morten Petersen

S&D

Erik Bergkvist, Carlo Calenda, Josianne Cutajar, Niels Fuglsang, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Nicolás González Casares, Robert Hajšel, Ivo Hristov, Romana Jerković, Eva Kaili, Łukasz Kohut, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Dan Nica, Tsvetelina Penkova, Patrizia Toia, Carlos Zorrinho

The Left

Cornelia Ernst

 

2

-

The Left

Marc Botenga, Sandra Pereira

 

13

0

ECR

Jessica Stegrud

ID

Thierry Mariani, Joëlle Mélin

The Left

Marisa Matias,

Verts/ALE

Michael Bloss, Ignazio Corrao, Ciarán Cuffe, Henrike Hahn, Ville Niinistö, Jutta Paulus, Mikuláš Peksa, Manuela Ripa, Marie Toussaint

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 

 

[1] OJ L 198, 22.6.2020, p. 13.

[2] OJ L 190, 12.7.2006, p. 1.

[3] OJ L 130, 19.5.2017, p. 1.

[4] OJ L 176, 30.6.2016, p. 55.

[5] OJ L 197, 24.7.2012, p. 38.

[6] OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.

[7] OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 15.

[8] OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17.

[9] OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1.

[10] OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7.

[11] OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

[12] OJ L 330, 15.11.2014, p. 1.

[13] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0073.

[14] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0359.

[15] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0321.

[16] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0040.

[17] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.

[18] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.

[19] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0108.

[20] OJ C 298, 23.8.2018, p. 132.

[21] World Bank, Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition; European Commission foresight study; OECD, Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060: Economic Drivers and Environmental Consequences.

[22] Commission foresight study.

[23] Baldé, C.P., Forti V., Gray, V., Kuehr, R., Stegmann,P. The Global E-waste Monitor – 2017, United Nations

University, International Telecommunication Union & International Solid Waste Association, Bonn/Geneva/Vienna, 2017.

[24] Commission communication entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability.

[25] Commission communication entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability’.

[26] EESC opinion of 25 March 2021.

[27] Commission communication of 2020 entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability’.

[28] Commission communication entitled ‘Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability’.

[29] While EOL-RIR in Europe for aluminium used in transport and buildings was over 90 %, only 60 % of the aluminium used in packaging was recycled in 2013.

[30] ‘If the EU had processed domestically the flow of aluminium waste and scrap exported in 2015, the EoL-RIR would have increased to 16%’ (Passarini et al., 2018), from the Commission Study on the EU’s list of Critical Raw Materials.

[31] OECD Report, Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060.

[32] UNFCC, Industry Sector Snapshot: Mining and Metals, 2018.

[33] UN International Resource Panel, Global Resources Outlook, 2019.

[34] OECD Report, Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060.

[35] Norgate, T., and Jahanshahi, S.,’Reducing the greenhouse gas footprint of primary metal production: Where should the focus be?’, Minerals Engineering, Volume 24, Issue 14, November 2011, pp. 1563-1570.

[36] OECD Report, Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060.

[37] European Environment Agency, The European Environment - State And Outlook 2020.

[38] Commission staff working document, ‘60 final Key stages and progress up to 2019 - Accompanying the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC)’, SWD(2020)0060.

[39] UNEP ‘Waste Crimes, Waste Risks: Gaps and Challenges in the Waste Sector’, 2015.

[40] Basel Action Network, Holes in the Circular Economy: WEEE Leakage from Europe, 2019.

[41] While EOL-RIR in Europe for aluminium used in transport and buildings was over 90 %, only 60 % of the aluminium used in packaging was recycled in 2013.

[42] ‘If the EU had processed domestically the flow of aluminium waste and scrap exported in 2015, the EoL-RIR would have increased to 16% (Passarini et al., 2018)’, from the European Commission Study on the EU’s list of Critical Raw Materials(2020).

[43] Commission communication of 5 May 2021 entitled ‘Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy:

Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery’ (COM(2021)0350).

 

[44] https://www.iea.org/reports/the-role-of-critical-minerals-in-clean-energy-transitions

 

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