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S&Ds: Critical Raw Materials Act ensures access to resources from abroad and their substitution where possible


14 Sep 2023


Global Europe
The Socialists and Democrats voted in favour of the Critical Raw Materials Act in the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today. The final text includes provisions introduced by the S&D Group to ensure an uninterrupted supply of these crucial resources from third countries for the EU industry.
The S&D Group improved on the Commission text in two more important aspects: the promotion of development and deployment of substitute raw materials as well as the mitigation of the EU increase in demand of critical raw materials. According to the S&Ds, the substitution can be achieved by fostering production methods and research and development activities. As for the demand for import from third countries, it can be decreased if we improve the efficiency and material substitution in the whole value chain, for example by better recycling.
Mohammed Chahim, vice-president of the S&D Group and our negotiator on the legislative proposal, said:
“This is a pivotal piece of legislation aimed to strengthen our supply chains and reduce European dependencies of strategic raw materials on third countries. As the European Parliament, we have reached a broad consensus – with support from my Group, the Socialists and Democrats, as well as the Greens, the liberals and the conservatives – to introduce significant amendments to the Commission's proposal. We have expanded the scope of national circularity plans to include more reuse, refurbishment and recycling.
"As the Critical Raw Materials Act is also about cooperation with third countries, it was crucial for our Group to include texts aiming at minimising the adverse environmental impact.  I am happy they were accepted by vote today together with measures for the respect of human and labour rights and meaningful engagement with local communities, including indigenous people.
“Lengthy discussions among political groups were held regarding permission and protected areas. Ultimately, we chose to retain the Commission's text on permitting and overriding public interest because it strikes a balanced approach. Projects in protected areas should be the exception rather than the norm, and a tangible connection between the project and the public interest should be demonstrated for such cases.”
Note to editors with the adopted S&D proposals:
As industry demand for critical raw materials is significantly increasing, the S&D Group has incorporated two vital objectives into this legislation:
  • The promotion of the development and deployment of substitutes for raw materials with equivalent or lower environmental and material impacts.
  • The reduction of the EU's growing demand for critical raw materials by enhancing efficiency across the entire value chain.
  • As far processing and recycling are concerned, the S&D proposal adopted today by the plenary include:
  • Increasing the processing capacity target from 40% to 50% of the EU's annual consumption (with the possibility of up to 20% through strategic partnerships).
  • Increasing the recycling capacity target from an overall capacity of 15% of the EU's annual consumption of strategic raw materials to a goal of an additional 10% volume of recycling capacity, based on the 2020-2022 baseline for each strategic raw material, and processing 45% of each strategic raw material found in European Union waste.
In order to avoid shortages for EU industry, we asked the other political groups to agree that the lists of strategic critical raw materials be updated every two years instead of every four by the European Commission. Meanwhile, if a risk is identified, the European Commission can perform updates on a case-by-case basis.