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ENVI Committee adopts draft opinion on a European strategy for Critical Raw Materials

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

On 29 June, the ENVI Committee held the final vote on the draft opinion for the ITRE report "a European Strategy for Critical Raw Materials" with 45 votes in favor, 7 against and 24 abstentions.

The rapporteur, Sara Matthieu (Greens/EFA, Belgium) published the draft opinion on 24 March. It includes the suggestions in the areas of recycling, CRM extraction and mining.

Regarding ambitious minimum recycled CRM content targets, the CRM-A agrees that raw materials should be maintained in the EU’s economy for as long as possible. However, for most CRMs, recycling is challenging due to the long-lasting life of the final product the materials are generally embedded in and due to the extremely small quantities present. Both these elements render the recycling of CRMs often technically and/or economically not feasible.

Therefore, the CRM-A believes that there should be consideration for the economic and environmental costs of recycling.

The same argument applies to the opinion's point on setting ambitious product design requirements for easy removal of CRMs. It is extremely difficult to easily remove CRMs when they are embedded in small quantities within other metals, and it makes the removal process often technically and economically not feasible.

Next steps: The deadline for opinion-giving committees is 10 September 2021. ITRE's draft report will be voted on 27 September 2021 and is expected to be adopted in the November Plenary.

Context: On 1 June, the ITRE Committee published its draft report on the European Strategy for Critical Raw Materials, with MEP Hildegard Bentele (EPP, Germany) as rapporteur. The opinion-giving committees are ENVI, with MEP Sara Matthieu (Greens/EFA, Belgium) as rapporteur, and INTA, with MEP Roman Haider as rapporteur (ECR, Austria).

The report is an own-initiative procedure in response to the European Commission’s New Industrial Strategy, the New Circular Economy Action Plan and the European Green Deal, amongst other initiatives. The report highlights the challenges and opportunities of CRMs in the twin digital and green transition, and addresses the following key topics: strategic autonomy and resilience, closing material loops, and diversification of sourcing of CRMs.

You can find the ENVI draft opinion here and the ITRE draft report here.


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