Critical Raw Materials: Achieving European Supply Security

May 20, 2021, 12 - 2 p.m.

Critical raw materials (CRMs) are essential for key future sectors, industries and technologies. As a result, global demand for CRMs will significantly increase in the coming years, intensifying global competition. Against this backdrop, the importance of supply security of CRMs has become a key item on the European Commission’s political agenda.

Germany is already one of the world's fifth largest importers of raw materials. At the same time, however, the global supply of many CRMs is limited to a few countries (which are also often politically unstable). In addition, geo-economic and geopolitical import dependencies are increasing with the rising demand for raw materials - and with them the risks and vulnerabilities of the European economy. In this context, China is vying to control entire global value chains for key technologies, including CRMs. The increase in future European CRM import dependencies will also have an impact on Europe’s climate protection efforts, as well as foreign and development policies.

Initial steps are being taken by the German government and the EU, which want to pay greater attention to the issue of a stable supply of CRMs in the future, on the one hand, and to strengthen domestic self-sufficiency, on the other. The German government updated its raw materials strategy in January 2020 and the EU launched a Battery Alliance and, more recently in October 2020, a European Raw Materials Alliance, which aims to achieve "strategic autonomy" in order to strengthen CRM supply security while meeting the "green" ambitions of a sustainable industrial policy with a stronger consideration of the ecological footprint in extraction, processing and end products ("sustainable mining").

But, will these initiatives be enough to diversify the EU’s CRM supplies while meeting climate objectives? This and a variety of other questions are central to the discussion on CRMs.


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Welcome & Moderation:
Prof. Dr. Friedbert Pflüger
CASSIS, University of Bonn

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Hilz
Director of CASSIS, University of Bonn

Impulse statements:
Peter Handley
Head of Unit, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials/
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs,
European Commission

Thomas Gaeckle
Deputy Director General in charge of Raw Materials Policy,
German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Dr. Christoph Wolff
Head of Mobility Industries and System Initiative,
Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

Michael Wurmser
Deputy CEO, Norge Mining

Weitere Informationen

This event was held in English.

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