In a joint EEA EFTA Comment, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway welcome the European Commission’s (EU) Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) and its objective to ensure access to a secure, diversified, affordable and sustainable supply of critical raw materials. EEA EFTA Comments are one of the tools used by the EEA EFTA States to participate in shaping EU policies, programmes and legislation.
In the Comment, submitted to the Commission, Council and Parliament on 20 September, the three EEA EFTA States highlight that they face the same challenges as the EU with regard to potential disruptions in supply chains. Growing global demand, driven by decarbonisation of economies, and excessive reliance on single suppliers make critical raw materials highly vulnerable to supply disruptions.
The proposed EU act aims to strengthen all stages of the European critical raw materials value chain, diversify the EU’s imports to reduce strategic dependencies, improve EU capacity to monitor and mitigate risks of disruptions to the supply of critical raw materials, and improve circularity and sustainability.
The EEA EFTA States make several specific remarks to the proposed act. They welcome efforts to reduce the administrative burden for businesses through more efficient permit-granting processes. However, they advise the European Parliament and Council to balance this need with the obligation to comply with requirements of environmental, social, and safety legislation as well as local consultation processes.
They urge the EU to include aluminium and synthetic graphite – not only natural graphite – on the list of strategic and/or critical raw materials. Aluminium is an enabling material in the green transition, as well as an important metal in defence technology application. There are likely to be future supply challenges if Europe’s capacity is not strengthened at all stages of aluminium’s value chain.
The EEA EFTA States strongly support the provisions for developing circularity and lowering the environmental footprint of critical raw materials. They underline the importance of fully integrating considerations related to human rights, labour rights and environmental protection into the important work of ensuring a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials.
Read the EEA Comment here
A list of past EEA EFTA Comments is available here.
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