Czech Presidency Conference “Raw Materials Security of Europe“

Czech Presidency Conference “Raw Materials Security of Europe“ was organized this week in Prague. The aim of the official Presidency conference was to discuss with high-level representatives of EU member states, cooperating/neighbouring countries and potential member states (Norway, Serbia, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine) the future direction of European raw materials policy with the main focus on critical raw materials. The main goal was to moderate a discussion on how to strengthen the raw materials security and self-sufficiency of the EU, resp. the whole continent.

The first session was opened by the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade H.E. Mr Jozef Síkela who highlighted three main topics:

  1. The EU cannot strengthen its raw material security without close cooperation with neighbouring countries that still have, from the European perspective, solid mineral reserves.
  2. We call on the European Commission to consider an EU-wide system of strategic reserves of those mineral commodities on whose imports the EU is most dependent and for which a possible interruption in supply could lead to a direct threat to the continent’s raw material security.
  3. We believe that the EU needs a new generation of geological exploration of its own territory. The continent’s raw material security cannot be strengthened without sustainable domestic production of at least some of the raw materials the EU consumes.

Vice-President of the EC, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight Maroš Šefčovič, in his keynote speech, highlighted: “With raw materials becoming the world’s most sought-after commodities due to their fundamental role across our economies and societies, we must throw all our weight into secure and sustainable access of raw materials.” And Mr Šefčovič concluded: “This huge of a task can only be achieved through a European response, joint efforts and cooperation, involving the Member States, industry, environmental groups, financial institutions, and other stakeholders”.

Just ahead of the official launch of the EU Critical Raw Materials Act, commissioner Thierry Breton stressed: “We must establish very quickly an EU-wide network to better understand our needs and risks and build better supply chains”.

In her video message H.E. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition of France stressed: “We must recapture our mining power through better information about our resource endowment. We must invest in everything-extraction, refining, recycling and reuse and become the leaders in Responsible Mining if we don’t do it others will do it for us.”

The industry view was presented by the forthcoming president of Euromines Jan Moström, LKAB President and CEO.  In his speech, Jan Moström highlighted “Domestic mining and production make Europe less dependent on imports, increase value-added and improve the sustainability of EU supply chains.”

Kye interventions were done by the Ukrainian minister H.E. Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources and Romanian Minister H.E. Florin Marian Spătaru, Minister of Economy.

The full conference programme is available here.

The final conference session was opened by Chris Heron, Communication & Public Affairs Director of Eurometaux presenting the recently published study “Metals for Clean Energy: Pathways to solving Europe’s raw materials challenge”. The biggest part of the third session was dedicated to the contributions of the member states. In the end, the conference conclusions were officially presented.

Read the Conference conclusions here.

Conference Speaker – short biographies.

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