The European Commission today presented its long-postponed raw materials strategy after months of delay. The Greens are expressing concern that, instead of setting out a coherent and focused strategy, the Commission’s approach is too broad and not well defined. Commenting on the strategy, Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, the EP draftsperson on the strategy, said:
“The long-awaited proposals on raw materials are hampered by a lack of focus. While the communication has been improved in certain areas based on earlier drafts, the Commission has spread the strategy too thin and, in promising all things to all people, resorted to setting out half measures instead of developing a coherent focused strategy.
“Recycling and resource efficiency should be cornerstones of any comprehensive raw materials strategy, and the Commission communication remains weak on this. It does, however, represent an improvement on earlier drafts, which had widely ignored the role of recycling and efficiency. The Commission sets out some worthy concrete proposals like the creation of a global certification system for recycling installations for example. The strategy remains ignorant on the recycling of rare earths though.
“The EU will have to quickly act on recycling and efficiency if we are to tackle our unsustainable raw material dependence; the failure to do so risks Europe being left behind in the global move towards green innovation and technologies, and at the same time damaging our future competitiveness.
“The Commission has also fallen short of developing a convincing strategy for fair cooperation with countries that are rich in raw materials. A strategy for cooperation with China, which is responsible for over 95% of the global production of rare earths, is also lacking. While the rhetoric on raw materials diplomacy is less confrontational, the Commission has not set out a coherent political vision.”