Critical Raw Materials (cepPolicyBrief)


Cobalt, lithium, rare earths: When it comes to critical raw materials, Europe wants to reduce its dependence on supplier countries like China. The Centre for European Policy (cep) praises the Commission for wanting to improve security of supply. However, its current proposal is too bureaucratic and anti-business.


"With the proposed information requirements, the Commission is overshooting the mark in terms of risk management," says André Wolf. The cep expert for new technologies analysed the proposed regulation with cep lawyer Götz Reichert. "Instead of control, more positive incentives for companies would make sense. On the way to a future-proof raw materials strategy, the EU is in danger of getting tangled up in micromanagement," Wolf warns.

Reichert criticises that the Commission's authorisation to classify raw materials as "strategic" and "critical" in future violates EU law. "This is because far-reaching rights and obligations arise for the Commission, member states and companies from this determination. Consequently, it is an 'essential' question that the Council and Parliament must decide in the legislative process - and may not delegate to the Commission," emphasises Reichert.


The cep experts welcome the fact that the Commission is looking beyond domestic raw material extraction and refining to strategic partnerships and raw material recycling. In view of financial and administrative restrictions, the proposed prioritisation of "strategic projects" is a suitable means of focusing on raw materials that are particularly essential for future technologies. The principle of diversifying supply channels serves as a reasonable benchmark. Mandatory risk reporting for "large industrial enterprises", on the other hand, would represent an inappropriate interference in the risk management of private companies.