Securing reliable and unhindered access to raw materials is important for the EU. In the EU, there are at least 30 million jobs depending on the availability of raw materials. The European Commission’s actions to ensure a sustainable supply of these materials can be divided into two interlinked parts: the Raw Materials Initiative and the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.
In 2008, the Commission adopted the Raw Materials Initiative which set out a strategy for tackling the issue of access to raw materials in the EU. This strategy has three pillars which aim to ensure:
The strategy covers all raw materials used by European industry except materials from agricultural production and materials used as fuel. Ensuring sustainable access to these raw materials is crucial to the competitiveness and growth of the EU economy and to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The Commission also regularly publishes a list of critical raw materials in the EU.
A Commission expert group — the Raw Materials Supply Group, with representatives from EU countries, European Economic Area countries, EU candidate countries, and organisations representing stakeholders - industry, research and civil society - advises the Commission and oversees the initiative’s implementation.
The EIP is the major EU initiative implementing the Raw Materials Initiative stakeholder platform that brings together EU countries, companies, researchers, and NGOs to promote innovation in the raw materials sector.
The main objective of the Partnership is to help raise industry's contribution to the EU’s GDP to around 20% by 2020 by securing its access to raw materials. It will also play an important role in meeting the objectives of the Commission’s flagship initiatives Innovation Union and Resource Efficient Europe. It will do this by ensuring the sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy whilst also increasing benefits for society as a whole.
The EIP developed its Strategic Implementation Plan with 95 actions to foster innovative solutions. These may be technological or non-technological. Specific actions include Research and Development, addressing Policy Framework conditions, disseminating Best Practices, building a Knowledge Base, and fostering International Cooperation.
Raw Materials Initiative
European Innnovation Partnership on Raw Materials