EU spearheads look to ease critical raw materials access

Two central EU summit proposals to increase bloc self-reliance and competitiveness garners support among EU leaders.
Tellurim is, among other things, used in solar panel production. | Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP/Ritzau Scanpix
Tellurim is, among other things, used in solar panel production. | Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

Heads of EU member states have expressed support in EU focus on ridding itself of its dependency on Chinese critical raw materials, says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a press conference ahead of an EU summit in Brussels.

Now it is up to the EU Parliament and member nations to reach a swift agreement on the proposals, says von der Leyen.

The comments are the latest push towards changing the EU approach towards globalization. The union’s own interests need to take center stage when it comes to commerce and production.

Additionally, the EU heads of state propose to get rid of red tape and remove barriers for investing in small and mid-size companies across the EU.

Going into the summit, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the EU stands before a shift in its approach to globalization. And the Commission draft proposal should be viewed in that light.

”It is a step away from the doctrine of – or blind faith in – free market movements of the last several years,” said Frederiksen.

Generally speaking, the EU’s modus operandi has been centered on an assumption that globalization and free trade would continue benefitting all contributing countries in the world.

Which is why delocalization of production facilities to Asia, dependency on raw materials from China, and supply chains collapsing on no input from other continents haven’t been seen as threats.

But that has all changed. Especially in lieu of the corona pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, Frederiksen argues.

”We experience a pandemic where we couldn’t protect our own, because we had outsourced some essential tasks to others,” she said.

The summit continues for EU officials on Friday, where the conditions for European banks are to be addressed.

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