27 Jun 2023, 09:42
Julian Wettengel

France, Italy, Germany launch joint push for securing critical raw materials

Clean Energy Wire / Bloomberg

Ministers from France, Italy and Germany have agreed on closer cooperation on the extraction, processing and recycling of critical raw materials needed for energy transition. In a joint communiqué on a meeting in Berlin, the governments said they would coordinate proposals made in international fora such as G7 working groups, and agree on common positions on the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) for the further EU negotiations. The ministers of the EU's three largest economies said they would push joint targets for acquiring and treating strategic raw material, as well as “ambitious environmental criteria” that are to be applied in the process. The trio have set up a working group to follow up on the initiatives and said that the meeting in Berlin kicks-off a new series of trilateral activities aimed at strengthening their cooperation on European-level strategic topics.

Italy’s enterprise minister, Adolfo Urso, said the meeting marked “the opening of a new phase and the shaping of a European industrial policy for tackling all the challenges of the twin green and digital transition”. French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said it was "particularly crucial to define concrete action on strategic projects and joint support”. This included discussing issues such as common stockpiling and joint purchasing, the Le Maire said.

In addition, Bloomberg reported that Germany considered to set up a state fund worth between 500 million and 1 billion euros to support the mining of raw materials critical to accelerate the country’s green transition, according to economy minister Robert Habeck.

Critical minerals and metals, such as lithium, nickel or rare earth minerals, are necessary in many sectors that enable the transition to climate neutrality, such as renewable energy systems, or electric mobility. At the end of their lifetime, they can pose further environmental hazards - and are often too valuable to be disposed of. This is why the sourcing and recycling of input materials must be improved to make the energy transition truly sustainable.

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