The European Commission has published an initiative containing a Regulation and a communication aimed at increasing the availability of critical and strategic raw materials in Europe - the so-called ‘Critical Raw Materials Act’ (CRMA). The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise below provides its comments on the proposed Regulation.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to safeguard the Union’s raw material supply, through its intention to improve opportunities for the exploration for, and extraction of, critical and strategic raw materials in the EU, and to enable increased trade and market-driven diversification. Also, the recognition that the existing unpredictable - and often prolonged - permit processes require an overhaul is to be welcomed.
Efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry must be a top priority and should permeate all the initiatives of the European Commission. The CRMA can play an important role here by enhancing the ability of European companies to strengthen their value chains and gain access to cost-effective critical and strategic raw materials in the face of strong global competition. These raw materials are frequently critical for industrial development in those sectors that are key to the green transition. The CRMA can also assist in the exploration and extraction of metals and minerals as well as the entire value chain from mining, processing to recycling.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise wishes to stress the core values that are fundamental to the business community’s continued growth and to creating the opportunities to meet the climate challenges. To promote additional advances, technology neutrality is a prerequisite. However, using legislation to control which existing technologies or materials should be promoted risks disadvantaging important areas that may be equally important for business growth and opportunities to meet climate challenges. This approach risks distorting competition and even perhaps inhibiting new discoveries or innovations. In addition, the capacity to adapt will be severely limited if prevailing circumstances suddenly change.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise therefore advocates broad solutions, which promote business in general, rather than selective initiatives and fast tracks for individual industries, technologies or - as in this case - raw materials. For this reason, it is important that the increased priority given to strategic raw materials in particular in the Regulation is not interpreted in a contradictory manner. For this reason, the Regulation should make it clear that the extraction, processing and recycling of other raw materials is also of great importance to European industry.
Read more in our position paper below.