EU’s von der Leyen calls for more home-grown raw materials, tech

EUROPEAN Commission President Ursula von der Leyen laid out plans on Wednesday to reduce the European Union’s dependency on raw material imports needed in the clean tech industry.

“We want to extract more ores and minerals here in the European Union (EU).

“We want to boost our processing capacities to at least 40 per cent of annual consumption,’’ von der Leyen announced.

She stressed the importance of recycling.

Critical raw materials are needed in phones, electric vehicles, chips, batteries, solar panels and wind turbines, she noted, addressing the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg.

The EU is receiving 98 per cent of rare earth and 93 per cent of magnesium supplies from China, von der Leyen said.

“If we want to be independent, we urgently need to strengthen and diversify our supply chains with like-minded partners,’’ she said.

The commission would be expected to present a series of draft bills on Thursday to improve the bloc’s competitiveness in the clean technologies and research sectors.

The commission also aimed for the EU to produce at least 40 per cent of clean tech needed in the bloc, facilitate the issuing of permits and create simpler state aid schemes,” she said.

Von der Leyen further said EU countries should increase research spending and promised efforts to reduce red tape for small and medium-sized companies and the costs of implementing EU laws.

The European Commission is trying to boost the bloc’s competitiveness of net zero technologies after the U.S. and China announced major subsidies for the sector. (dpa/NAN)