The European Union’s Industry Committee has backed plans that set circularity targets regarding the extraction of strategic raw materials from waste.
MEPs pushed for a stronger focus on research and innovation concerning substitute materials and production processes that could replace raw materials, such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, in strategic technologies. MEPs also “insisted” on the need to cut red tape for companies especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Critical Raw Materials Act, adopted on 7 September, aims to allow Europe to accelerate towards “European sovereignty and competitiveness”. The EU says the report will cut red tape, promote innovation along the entire value chain, support SMEs and boost research and development of alternative materials and more environmentally-friendly mining as well as production methods.
The Act proposes the EU increase the recycling capacity for its 16 “strategic raw materials” by 10%, as well as collect, sort and process 45% of the materials contained in EU waste. The parliament text emphasises that the recycling target would apply to each material.
The agreed report provides a clear blueprint for European security of supply.
The 16 strategic raw materials are copper, tungsten, cobalt, battery-grade nickel, magnesium metal, platinum group metals, battery-grade manganese, battery-grade natural graphite, germanium, metallurgy grade boron, rare earth elements for magnets, titanium metal, bismuth, gallium, battery grade lithium, and silicon metal.
Lead MEP Nicola Beer (Renew, DE), commented: “The agreed report provides a clear blueprint for European security of supply, with a research and innovation boost along the entire value chain. Instead of having far too many ideology-driven subsidies, it relies on fast and simple approval processes and reducing red tape.
“In response to geopolitical upheavals, it creates the preconditions to offer targeted economic incentives to private investors in the context of production and recycling in Europe. At the same time, it builds on the expansion of strategic partnerships with third countries. The foundation for Europe’s course towards open, economic and geopolitical sovereignty has been laid.”
The draft legislation was adopted in the committee with 53 votes to 1, with 5 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the full House during the 11-14 September plenary session in Strasbourg.
According to a report in Reuters, MEPs planned to push for increased waste recycling to ensure member states have access to critical raw materials.