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Support for European projects in the field of critical raw materials

Question écrite de M. Mihai TUDOSE - Commission européenne

Question de M. Mihai TUDOSE,

Diffusée le 24 mai 2023

Subject: Support for European projects in the field of critical raw materials

The Regulation on Critical Raw Materials proposed by the Commission is at the debate and amendment stage in the European Parliament. This is a priority topic for the EU, with the global economic landscape and outlook dictating that we act urgently, from simplifying authorisation for European strategic projects to increasing recycling capacity.

The Commission has put forward realistic extraction and processing objectives, and these have been endorsed by the rapporteur: ensuring by 2030 a minimum EU own production capacity of 10 % and a minimum EU processing capacity of at least 40 % of the annual consumption of strategic raw materials. These are realistic targets in view of the time line, but are insufficient to meet medium- and long-term needs.

I appreciate the determination of the Swedish EU Council Presidency to reach a political agreement on this legislation by the end of its mandate.

In these circumstances, I consider that the Commission needs to further clarify the European funding mechanisms for extraction and processing projects. How does the Commission intend to boost – with EU funding – the pinpointing and exploitation of the EU's natural resources in the area of critical raw materials, along with its industrial processing capacity?

Submitted: 25.5.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 17 juillet 2023

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(18 July 2023)

The Commission’s proposal for the Critical Raw Materials Act (1) does not in itself offer additional EU funds for the development of capacities along the value chain of critical raw materials.

However, there are considerable funds available at European and Member State level that could be used for this purpose. The proposal includes mechanisms to help access these, such as the dedicated subgroup on financing.

Additionally, the Commission has proposed in its Multiannual Financial Framework mid-term revision Communication (2) to set up a new Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform that would reinforce and leverage existing EU instruments for a quick deployment of financial support to projects supporting innovation and sovereignty objectives.

Its scope comprises digital technologies, clean technologies, and biotechnologies as well as the critical raw materials needed for their respective value chains.

At the same time, a large part of the necessary investments would need to come from private sources and the public money being spent should leverage it as much as possible.

Apart from the financing dimension, the designation of strategic projects which are in Europe’s strategic interest should give a strong signal to interested investors.

In addition, these projects would also benefit from streamlined permitting and a mechanism to facilitate off-take agreements, giving more clarity to investors and speeding up the approval process significantly.

Furthermore, the proposal includes provisions on risk monitoring and mitigation which, by providing a better information basis and focusing the attention of large downstream companies on the risks in their supply chain, should lead to investments into more secure critical raw materials projects.

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