Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes today’s vote to advance the Critical Raw Materials Act in the European Parliament, given the urgency of onshoring and diversifying a sustainable supply of critical metals needed for Europe’s green transition. MEPs on the industry committee increased to 50% the proposed target for refining and processing critical metals such as nickel, lithium and copper within the EU.
Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and e-mobility supply chains at T&E, said: “The EU is right not to rely on outsourcing one of the most valuable parts of the battery supply chain to a highly concentrated market overseas. These targets mean Europe will onshore refining and processing, ensure it is done sustainably, and develop expertise in these areas that it currently doesn’t have.”
T&E called for MEPs to retain the EU’s environmental rules around water quality, waste disposal, biodiversity and community engagement while simplifying and speeding up permitting procedures. It welcomed the industry committee’s tightening of the criteria around certification schemes to ensure multi-stakeholder involvement and on-site audits.
Julia Poliscanova said: “This can only be a green transition if we secure a sustainable supply of critical metals. Any attempts to waterdown Europe’s environmental protections must be fiercely resisted. Crucially, Europe should not over-rely on often dubious certification schemes for compliance. We hope EU governments take on board Parliament’s amendments on those.”
While the goals of the Critical Raw Materials Act are essential, Europe still lacks the means to meet them on time, T&E said. German and French state aid will not be able to compete with China and the US for battery investments. T&E and 18 other organisations and companies have called on Europe to turn its Innovation Fund into a green industry bank and use it to scale best-in-class projects throughout the battery supply chain.