Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 474
Publication Date 03/09/2020
Content Type


Communication published by the European Commission on 3 September 2020 setting out an Action Plan concerning access to resources and sustainability in relation to raw materials.

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Critical raw materials are essential to the functioning and integrity of a wide range of industrial ecosystems. Access to resources is therefore a strategic security matter for the European Union's ambition to deliver its European Green Deal. The Commission's Industrial Strategy for Europe proposes to reinforce the EU's autonomy and warns that a transition to climate neutrality cannot replace reliance on fossil fuels with one on raw materials which are in many cases sourced from outside the European Union.

This autonomy needs to continue to be anchored in diversified and undistorted access to global markets for raw materials. At the same time, and in order to decrease external dependencies and environmental pressures, the underlying problem of rapidly increasing global resources demand needs to be addressed by reducing and reusing materials before recycling them. Access to resources and sustainability is key for the EU’s resilience in relation to raw materials. Achieving resource security requires action to diversify supply from both primary and secondary sources, reduce dependencies and improve resource efficiency and circularity, including sustainable product design.

Building on the European Union’s Raw Materials Initiative from 2008, this Communication sets out the challenges for a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials and actions to increase resilience and open strategic autonomy. This includes the launch of a European Raw Materials Alliance. It also presents fourth review of the EU's list of critical raw materials. Alongside this Communication, the Commission also published a foresight study on critical materials for strategic technologies and sectors in the European Union.

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Commentary and Analysis
EIT RawMaterials, 03/09/2020: EIT RawMaterials supports EU Action Plan to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials
European Environmental Bureau: News, 03/09/2020: Europe’s strategy for critical raw materials “a double-edged sword”
White&Case: Publications, 07/09/2020: EU unveils action plan to secure access to critical raw materials
EEB: Meta, 10/09/2020: Europe's scramble for minerals comes home
German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP): Journal Review 2022/JR 01, 01/06/2022: The Race for Raw Materials. Contributions to the Debate on the EU’s Raw Materials Policy Following the Publication of the Fourth Critical Raw Materials List and the 2020 Action Plan

EurActiv, 01/09/2020: EU to launch raw materials industry alliance
EurActiv, 03/09/2020: EU raw materials push aims to underpin Green Deal, digital ambitions
Deutsche Welle, 03/09/2020: EU presents new strategy on 'critical raw materials'
Euronews, 03/09/2020: EU unveils action plan to secure access to critical raw materials, 03/09/2020: EU adds lithium to critical raw materials list
Reuters, 03/09/2020: Striving for green recovery, EU adds lithium to critical materials list
Jornal Económico, 03/09/2020: Brussels defends lithium exploration in Portugal but calls for dialogue with communities
Associated Press, 03/09/2020: EU unveils plan to secure raw materials, cut dependency

European Commission: DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: Critical Raw Materials
European Commission: Joint Research Centre: Raw Materials Information System (RMIS)
European Commission: Press Release, 03/09/2020: Commission announces actions to make Europe's raw materials supply more secure and sustainable
European Commission: Questions and Answers on the Communication on Critical Raw Materials
European Commission: Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič at the Press Conference on critical raw materials resilience in the EU

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