The Bulgarian Presidency’s motto “United we stand strong” echoes the EU’s raw materials policy. No one EU country alone can supply the raw materials for the economic and industrial growth we want. Raw materials enable economic growth; they are simply the basis of most economic activities, industrial or agricultural, touristic or digital.
Bulgaria has put economic and social cohesion in the centre of its Presidency. Addressing potential mineral extraction in more remote areas of the EU as well as the climate change driven closure of extraction of energy materials are crucial to the EU’s industrial and cohesion policy. Climate change, improvement of efficiency in energy generation and transition to other energy carriers and technologies require considerable amounts of old and new raw materials.
Our economic dependency on these materials should be addressed first by fostering extraction from European sources, wherever possible and sustainable. For this, both a business-friendly environment and adequate governance need to be guaranteed. Access to finance, support for research and innovation and development of new skills and training must be actively facilitated by the EU and Member States. The EU digital single market and development of a wider digital economy and skills in the workforce are crucial to that.
International market access and sustainable trade policies are as important as a balanced internal market. We must leverage availability and capacities across Member States to secure raw material supplies for downstream industries.
New trade and investment relations need to be forged. The CETA agreement and its raw materials chapter as well as the intensified relations with Latin America are developments in the right direction and should be nurtured in the future.
For further information see: Globalisation patterns in EU trade and investment, 2017 edition(link is external).