Categorie News
20/03/2024

EU’s Strategic Autonomy Strengthened: Critical Raw Materials Regulation Approved

On March 18, 2024, the Council finally ratified the regulation establishing a framework to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, known as the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), completing the final step in the decision-making process.

The CRMA:

  • Provides clear guidelines and defined deadlines for authorization procedures for extraction projects in the EU;
  • Allows the Commission and member states to identify crucial strategic projects;
  • Requires risk assessments along the supply chain;
  • Requires member states to develop national exploration plans;
  • Ensures EU access to critical and strategic raw materials through ambitious parameters for extraction, processing, recycling and diversification of import sources.

The recently adopted final text presents two lists of materials (34 critical and 17 strategic) critical to the green and digital transition, as well as to crucial sectors such as the defense and space industries.

The CRMA establishes three benchmarks for the EU’s annual consumption of raw materials:

  • 10% from local extraction;
  • 40% to be processed in the EU;
  • 25% to come from recycled materials.

To facilitate the development of strategic projects, member states will establish single points of contact at the appropriate administrative levels and relevant stages of the critical raw materials value chain.

Extraction projects will receive permits within a maximum of 27 months, while recycling and processing projects should receive approval within 15 months, with limited exceptions to ensure adequate involvement of local communities and full environmental assessment in the most complex cases.

Large companies involved in strategic technologies (such as battery manufacturers, hydrogen or renewable generators) will conduct risk assessments on their supply chains to identify any vulnerabilities.

After the European Parliament’s position was approved by the Council on March 18, the legislative act was adopted. Once signed by the president of the European Parliament and the president of the Council, the CRMA will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the 20th day after publication.

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