New European Raw Materials Alliance to secure ‘strategic autonomy’ on critical raw materials

The European Commission has launched a new industry alliance on 30 September aimed at strengthening the EU’s “strategic autonomy” on raw materials, which are considered key for the bloc’s green and digital transitions.

The Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner Thierry Breton launched the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) to connect industrial actors, Member States and civil society to build resilience and strategic autonomy for the rare earths and magnets value chain in Europe.

The Alliance aims at identifying barriers, opportunities and investment possibilities at all stages of the raw materials value chain – from mining to waste recovery – while at the same time trying to minimise the environmental and social impacts.

“Our strategic foresight shows clearly that the demand for critical raw materials is only going to rise, especially given the ongoing transition towards a green and digital economy. The pandemic has also highlighted the criticality of raw materials for our recovery. To secure a sustainable supply of raw materials we need to join forces across Europe, as we have done for the EU Battery Alliance.” – announced Vice President Šefčovič.

Commissioner Breton added: ’’The European Raw Materials Alliance is an important step in strengthening the industrial ecosystems that depend on raw materials. The Alliance will accelerate the green and digital transition by reinforcing value chains, diversifying supplies and involving all willing partners in implementing the necessary actions.”

Alliance’s first mission will be to build “strategic autonomy for the rare earths and magnets value chain, before extending to other raw material areas,” according to the declaration establishing the European Raw Materials Alliance. The Alliance is the first deliverable of the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials. It will be managed by EIT RAWMaterials, a EU-funded organisation and will be overseen by the Commission, in particular through the relevant high-level expert group, the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.