Henrike Hahn, Bavarian MEP for the Greens/EFA, Member of the Industry Committee and shadow rapporteur on the own Initiative Report on the European strategy for critical raw materials, comments ahead of the publication of the New Industrial Strategy by the European Commission:
“The COVID crisis has shown the interdependence of global value chains and the importance of a globally-integrated and well-functioning of the Single Market.
Impacts of the crisis vary across industrial ecosystems as do their prospects for recovery. They also vary across companies, with SMEs being particularly impacted.
The crisis has also triggered the need to analyse and address strategic dependencies, both technological and industrial. We need to do everything that is in our power to uphold the free movement of goods, services and workers in the Single Market. But we also need to reinforce our strategic autonomy, especially in the field of raw materials related to the green and digital transitions.
As Europe, we import lithium for electric cars, platinum to produce clean hydrogen, silicon metal for solar panels. 98 % of the rare earth elements we need come from a single supplier: China. The import of rare earths from China is probably the most critical issue in this area, because Europe has no mining or processing activity for these important minerals. In the years to come, if not managed correctly for Europe, dependence on China will further increase as demand for green technologies increases.
We should therefore consider resource reduction and circular economy as a tool to increase resilience and hence boosting the market for secondary materials and sustainable products. We should also increase our international cooperation and build strong global partnerships based on high environmental and human rights standards.“
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