ATWith the future Raw Materials Act, the European Union (EU) intends to drastically reduce its economic dependencies and thus open a new chapter in its sovereignty. This great opportunity deserves to be supported.
Within the EU, the memory of the oil and gas crises of 1973 lingers on. In the context of the aggression of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the latter uses gas as a weapon of war against Europe. So many past situations that should alert.
But who among us has ever thought of a nickel, lithium or cobalt crisis as a possible historic turning point for his own life and that of our States? What would happen if China or some African countries stopped supplying these metals? Would we again take emergency measures to safeguard our national economies? We would wonder how we could so naively fall into critical dependencies?
nickel, lithium, cobalt
In order to prevent such crises from occurring, Europe must be better equipped for the future. This is why the European Commission, in the person of the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, must present on March 15 a new project for a European framework on critical raw materials.
This framework must allow us to have enough critical raw materials such as nickel, lithium, cobalt or rare earths so that a European wind turbine or solar installation will never run out of raw materials to supply electricity.
So far, we have never experienced a shortage of these critical metals, which we most often source from China in processed form. And this is also the reason why we are not prepared in Europe for a crisis in raw materials.
The new European legislation marks a new beginning. For the first time, the European Union has adopted a common strategy for critical raw materials. All of us, the nations of Europe, their parliaments, their citizens, need to understand what this is all about, namely basic provisions for our own security and our goal of carbon neutrality. Safety without these critical raw materials no longer exists in times of climate change. We need them like we need hospitals and schools.
Ecologists – in particular – sometimes think that the sun and the wind are present enough and that all that is missing is the political will to use them as sources of energy. But to develop solar and wind energy as large-scale energy sources, as well as to develop electromobility, large quantities of critical raw materials are needed.
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