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 improve access to critical and strategic raw materials for business in the EU. It notes that this is both through the intention to promote opportunities for exploration, mining, processing and recycling as well as the ambition to strengthen trade relations with like-minded countries. This will provide companies with the opportunity to secure their value chains through business-driven diversification.
- However, the European Commission’s initiative is too narrow in its design. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise advocates broader measures, which remove obstacles to the development of the entire value chain. It is important that the European Commission’s proposal takes into account the fact that critical and strategic raw materials are often derived as a by-product of the extraction of other raw materials.
- The main obstacle that both the European Commission and the Member States should focus on is the long and unpredictable permit processes, which often constitute crucial barriers to the development of new mining activities. The proposal to introduce fixed time limits for strategic projects may be welcomed by those affected. However, from a market perspective this is problematic, as other activities may be disadvantaged when selected projects are prioritised. More fundamental measures are required to bring about genuine change and accelerate the transition. In addition, a new organisation of the licensing process may risk undermining the possibility of an effective review.
- The European Commission’s focus on strategic projects also risks leading to a high administrative burden, without necessarily benefiting those companies most in need of support and guidance.