Wed, 2021-02-17 21:08

Strengthening of European industrial policy to guarantee the EU strategic independence

Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for the Economy, Finance and Recovery and Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, met yesterday, 17th February, and discussed key Franco-German industrial projects and the strengthening of European industrial policy.

They underlined once again that industrial policy is a crucial part of the EU recovery. They are striving for a competitive, sovereign and resilient EU industry by investing on future-oriented technologies “made in the EU” and by putting an enabling policy framework in place.

Euromines would like to stress that minerals and metals represent the basis for both our lives and any industrial production process. They provide everyday products and new solutions for modern infrastructure and technologies. The European metals and minerals sector can deliver critical materials needed for current and future technologies to create a climate neutral, service and welfare orientated, circular and resource-efficient and digital economy while sourcing raw materials in a sustainable and responsible way. Mining and quarrying activities can encompass those that are sustainable activities based on their own performance and/or those that are enabling activities.

Both Ministers call on the acceleration of pan-European collaboration on innovative technologies, in particular Industrial Alliances and Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs).

We believe that the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) is one of the examples that should be further promoted and supported. Euromines is proud to be a member of ERMA which aims to make Europe economically more resilient by diversifying its supply chains, creating jobs, attracting investments to the raw materials value chain, fostering innovation, training young talents and contributing to the best enabling framework for raw materials and the Circular Economy worldwide.

We have become dependent on highly specialised metals and alloys that require a vast array of mineral resources. Some are relatively rare, but many are essential in the manufacturing of advanced technological products essential for becoming climate-neutral by 2050. 

For example, the global shortage of electronic components for the car industry illustrates once more the need for an ambitious IPCEI to strengthen Europe's capabilities.

Finally, Mr Le Maire and Mr Altmaier agreed on a joint position paper as input for the upcoming update from the European Commission of the European Industry Strategy. They share the view that the EU’s industrial strategy should accelerate and support the transition towards a digital and carbon-neutral economy, while addressing the weaknesses and strategic dependencies that the pandemic has highlighted.

Mr Le Maire said: “The pandemic has confirmed that new European industrial value chains are an absolute necessity to guarantee our strategic independence. To do so, it is essential to strengthen the European industrial strategy by relying on cooperation between countries, in particular through important projects of common European interest (IPCEI). These are times to invest heavily in new technologies such as electronic components, hydrogen, the cloud, space and even artificial intelligence. Now is the time. That is what we are doing at national level within France Relance; we must do it at European level too. There is no political sovereignty without technological independence.”

Mr Altmaier added: “Now is the moment to switch all industrial policy buttons to “power on”: the ones for engaging actively in the green and digital transition, the ones for implementing the lessons learnt from COVID-19, the ones for pan-European cooperation in innovative technologies and the ones for triggering private investment on a very large scale. We welcome the announced update of the Industrial Strategy and propose important measures.”

European mining companies and mining technology companies are essential for European value chains and thus crucial for overcoming post-pandemic global economic crisis.

On 11 February 2021, Commissioner Thierry Breton highlighted in his speech: “One of the major lessons we can learn from this crisis is that all of us have become aware of some of our dependencies, both technological and industrial. This was evident on the issue of masks or active pharmaceutical ingredients, but it is also the case for certain raw materials which are essential for batteries and therefore at the heart of our green agenda.”

Mitigating supply risk by providing materials for green, sustainable, circular, low-carbon technologies, sustainable agriculture, and the resilience of Europe’s manufacturing means investing in Europe’s raw materials. The more ambitious climate targets, the more metals and minerals needed for a clean energy transition.

Read more on Euromines website: EU mineral raw materials – the basis for the future of the EU

This news post quotes information in the press release following the working session between Bruno Le Maire and Peter Altmaier and statement from the Speech of Commissioner Thierry Breton at The Robert Schuman Foundation.

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