France state

France and Germany set priorities for upcoming EU raw materials law –

Germany and France have set out their priorities for the EU’s upcoming critical raw materials law in a position paper aimed at strengthening the resilience of supply chains and reducing Europe’s dependence on -vis from foreign suppliers such as China.

The Franco-German joint proposal was submitted to the European Commission and discussed by EU member states on Thursday 29 September. The Commission welcomed the initiative, stressing that there is a broad consensus among EU countries on the issue.

“I think things are moving forward, and we are now reaching a kind of consensus on something, which I think is very important,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Thursday.

EU member states have already pushed in March for an EU legislative proposal to tackle the vulnerability of raw material supply chains, which have been strained by the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Raw Materials Act was one of the key initiatives for the coming year, recalling that demand for critical raw materials is expected to increase by 500% by 2030 in the EU due to green and digital transition.

Franco-German thrust

Both France and Germany have sought to reduce their dependence on foreign countries – and China in particular – to strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy.

The push towards more strategic autonomy “concerns Russia on the one hand, where we must break with unilateral dependence on cheap energy, and China on the other hand, from a perspective of dependence on raw materials”, said Franziska Brantner, German Parliamentary State Secretary. to the Ministry of Economy, in statements made to EURACTIV in June.

With the publication of the position paper, the EU’s two largest economies reiterated the importance of the Commodities Act and set out their vision of what the next EU legislation should entail.

According to the duo, the bill should be based on three pillars: an early warning system and a crisis management mechanism for critical raw materials, stimulating investment in production and recycling and ensuring competitive conditions. fair world.

The first two pillars have many similarities with the European Chips Act proposed by the Commission in February and dealing with a similar issue: strengthening the resilience of semiconductor supply chains.

The Crisps Law was already positioned at the time by the Commission as a potential model for the next Raw Materials Law. It is based, among other things, on more flexible rules on state aid allowing governments to subsidize strategic projects and on the establishment of dedicated funds to encourage European production.

The Commodities Act is expected to take a similar approach, with the Franco-German proposal highlighting the need for a sovereign wealth fund to build capacity for extracting and recycling raw materials in Europe.

The joint Franco-German position stresses the need to identify strategic projects along the value chain – from mining to processing and recycling – with a view to closing existing loops by 2050.

[Edited by Frédéric Simon]