Yesterday evening, on November 13, a preliminary political agreement on the EU Critical Raw Materials Act was reached at the interinstitutional level.
Henrike Hahn, Member of the European Parliament (The Greens/EFA), the Green industrial policy spokesperson in the European Parliament, member of the Industry Committee (ITRE) and the Green shadow rapporteur in the lead ITRE Committee for the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), comments:
"After almost eight months of intensive negotiations, we have achieved a green industrial policy milestone for more mining in Europe with the CRMA. Circular economy and recycling are now at the core of the CRMA addressing simultaneously the reduction of demand. With the CRMA, green technology 'Made in Europe' receives the means to be produced more strategically, autonomously and reliably, without relying on raw material supplies from geopolitically questionable countries like Russia or China.
The recycling benchmark in the CRMA is now raised to 25% of the EU's annual consumption of strategic raw materials. The Commission proposed 15%, and the Council advocated for 20%. This is a significant green success. Additionally, there will be a link to the recycling of an increasing amount of strategic raw materials contained in EU waste streams—the exact scope of these waste streams and the corresponding benchmark for recycling will be evaluated and determined in the future. This is also an important green success.
With the Critical Raw Materials Act, we are finding autonomous solutions for the European demand for critical raw materials for green technologies, transforming this into competitiveness 'Made in Europe.' We are building a European raw materials sector, turning waste into a resource, strengthening global partnerships, and thus fortifying a green competitive industry.
The maximum processing time for permits for strategic projects to extract critical raw materials will be 27 months, and 15 months for recycling and processing, instead of the 24 months and 12 months as in the EP mandate and the Commission proposal.
The trilogue agreement has now excluded a step in the environmental impact assessment from the highest permissible total duration (the step where the project promoter must produce the report) and only included the tasks to be carried out by the national administration in the upper limit. This is intended to de facto provide project promoters with planning security without offensively compromising the quality of the environmental impact assessment during the approval process. This shall allow efficiency in business operations to align with environmental compatibility.
More mining in Europe requires a balanced approach of enhanced efficiency, environmental protection, and the participation of people affected by mining at the local level. In the final CRMA negotiations, ambitious results must be achieved in these days that align with the EU goal of the Green Deal. In green EU industrial policy, we aim to secure the foundation for innovation and resilience of companies in our supply chains - the CRMA now contributes significantly to this.
We, the Greens, have fought for a clearly formulated goal of 'mitigating the expected increase in the consumption of critical raw materials in the Union.' This commits the Commission and the Member States to make efforts to create incentives for technological progress and resource efficiency, dampening the expected increase in the Union's consumption of critical raw materials. To this end, a reference scenario will be created by the Commission up to 18 months after the regulation comes into effect. The moderation of demand will be an integral part of the monitoring conducted by the Commission every three years."
I would be happy to answer any further questions.