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The new EU Arctic Strategy and the role of CRMs

On 13 October, the Commission announced the Communication for a stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic.

The Communication lists key areas to focus on:

  1. The EU and the Northern Dimension

  2. Greenland

  3. The thawing permafrost

  4. Making the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean a success

  5. Black carbon

  6. EU-Polar Net

  7. Health and resilience

  8. InvestEU for the Arctic

One of the objectives mentioned is ensuring sustainable and responsible extraction and processing for climate-neutrality. Within that objective, the strategy outlines Arctic States’ potentially becoming significant suppliers of critical and other raw materials and mentions Sweden’s plans to produce iron ore in a carbon neutral way by 2035 for instance.

The text states that building resilient EU value chains through sustainable raw materials extraction and processing will help the Arctic region to develop sustainably through innovation and circularity, ensuring health and safety at work and the creation of future-oriented decent jobs.

While achieving cleaner and more sustainable extraction and processing, a greater local and EU uptake of secondary raw materials, enabled by clean green technologies, is needed to increase circularity in the region, phase-out the current linear model, and ultimately minimize environmental impacts of extractive industries.

Moreover, the EU will champion with global partners the setting of the highest standards for reducing the environmental impact of processes for exploitation and processing - in line with the EU Action Plan. Raw materials research and innovation topics under Horizon Europe will cover environmentally friendly, sustainable sourcing in line with biodiversity protection, circularity, and the use of Earth Observation technologies for environmental monitoring.

Next steps: The Commission and the High Representative will work with the European Parliament, the Council and other institutions to implement these actions, and take note of the Parliament’s Report on the opportunities, concerns and security challenges in the Arctic. The EU will extend its cooperation with all key partners and stakeholders in the Arctic and beyond.

To read the full Communication, click here.


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