1. Thanks to the strategic approach, sustained concerted efforts and strong partnership of the Commission, the Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the industry, the European Battery Alliance (EBA) is delivering at light speed. The EBA - gathering over 500 industrial actors - has turned Europe into a battery hotspot rapidly closing the investment gap with its major Asian competitors (the total investment in Europe reached €60 billion in 2019 compared to €17 billion in China).
  2. 2020 was the year of the electric vehicle (EV) in the EU. EVs hit historic highs with 1,045,000[1] cars sold representing 10.5% of the market share (an increase from 3% in 2019).
  3. The battery industry estimates that the EV surge will accelerate, reaching 7-8 million EV registrations by 2025, notably due to (i) the expected revision of CO2 standards (by June 2021), (ii) the announced intentions by several Member States and major OEMs to exclude combustion engine vehicles from the primary vehicles market within 5 to 20 years, and (iii) the expected progress in the roll-out of charging points.
  4. The European battery cells industry will be able to keep up with the accelerated pace of e-mobility. Despite the Covid-19 crisis, some projects have advanced their timelines and have raised their expected output capacity. Europe is well on track to become the second largest battery cell producer in the world, behind China. The Europe’s 30 announced lithium cell projects will cover almost 90% of domestic battery needs.
  5. Continued concerted efforts will be needed to address the remaining major obstacles to developing a competitive, sustainable and resilient battery value chain in Europe:
    1. strengthening local supplies of raw materials and processing capacities for all battery materials, and rapidly accelerating development of the battery active materials industry as the currently developed domestic projects will only partially satisfy the battery ecosystem’s needs by 2025;
    2. ramping up battery recycling capacities at a faster pace to meet the increasing volumes of waste batteries on the market, to secure Europe’s position as a leader in the circular economy and to build a strong position in industrial volumetric recycling (the number of EVs present on EU roads reached over two million in 2020);
    3. urgently rolling-out re-/up-skilling programmes to effectively address the emerging skills gap, which is set to reach approximately 800,000 direct jobs across the entire battery value chain by 2025.
  6. The following concrete action points have been agreed:
    1. the industrial actors will communicate their manufacturing objectives/ commitments, and specific industrial projects addressing the identified gaps;
    2. the Commission and the EIB will discuss with the Member States at the EBA Ministerial on 12 March ways to strengthen the application of industrial and customs policies to bolster production and refining of raw materials in the EU, and to achieve a better balance between domestic and external supplies of battery active materials (e.g. facilitated planning and permitting procedures, and phasing-out of battery-related duty suspension requests);
    3. the industrial actors will consider developing a flagship initiative on sustainable and social extraction activities in Europe in view of addressing the important social acceptance challenge. This could include an industry-led charter on sustainable and socially fair practices, and an inclusive roundtable/platform to hold a regular, open and transparent dialogue on these relevant matters with stakeholders;
    4. the EIB has expressed its readiness to keep the entire battery value chain among its top investment priorities, in line with its new lending policy and commitment to increase the share of its support to climate action to 50% by 2025 (i.e. an expected volume of €30 billion per year). To this end, the industrial actors will prepare a portfolio of the most advanced sustainable and bankable upstream and recycling projects for the EIB’s assessment, which would be discussed at expert level;
    5. the Commission will call on Member States at the EBA Ministerial on 12 March to include re-/up-skilling programmes in their national plans prepared under the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Just Transition Fund, as well as in the cohesion policy programmes, notably under the European Regional Development Fund. To this end, the industrial actors could prepare for Member States country-specific re-/up-skilling programme proposals. The Commission will also consider the possibility of (i) offering dedicated support to the Member States in designing battery re-skilling reforms and initiatives, e.g. through a Working Group, and/or a dedicated guidance document, as well as (ii) providing a symbolic financial contribution (e.g. under ESF+ or Horizon Europe) necessary to establish the “EBA250 Academy” and cover its running costs.
  7. Swift processing and adoption of a new and comprehensive proposal for the Batteries Regulation is essential to ensure a competitive, sustainable and circular value chain in Europe, to ensure a level-playing field on the market, as well as to promote competitive edge in sustainability and performance. The adoption of the proposal in 2022 and its entry into force in 2023 will be essential to establish a stable legal framework for the emerging battery ecosystem in Europe.

[1]        Transport & Environment