On 2 February 2011, the European Commission adopted a new strategy which sets out targeted measures to secure and improve access to raw materials for the EU in the coming years.
The new strategy for raw materials builds on and further develops the results of the Raw Materials Initiative (RMI) which was launched by the Commission in 2008 to ensure that EU businesses and industry do not suffer a competitive disadvantage over resource-rich countries.
Following this Initiative, the Commission identified 14 critical raw materials: antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, platinum group metals, rare earths, tantalum and tungsten.These critical raw materials are those which display a particularly high risk of supply shortage in the next 10 years and which are particularly important for the value chain.
Regarding critical raw materials, the Commission intends to explore the potential for targeted actions (notably for recycling) as well as a possible stockpiling programme of raw materials. It will also monitor the issues of critical raw materials to identify priority actions and regularly update the list of critical raw materials.
The RMI also laid down measures in three areas which have been pursued and reinforced by the new strategy to improve access to raw materials for the EU.
The Commission’s approach is based on 3 pillars:
1st Pillar: Fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from global markets: the EU will pursue a raw materials diplomacy with a view to securing access to raw materials, in particular the critical ones, through strategic partnerships and policy dialogues. The Commission will focus on development policy and sustainable supply of raw materials and will reinforce the raw materials trade strategy.
2nd Pillar: Fostering sustainable supply within the EU: promote technologies that increase investment in the EU’s natural assets, promote investment in extractive industries and enhance the knowledge base necessary for an efficient raw materials strategy.
3d Pillar: Boosting resource efficiency and promoting recycling: the Commission suggests to set higher recycling rates. It will present a roadmap for a resource efficient Europe and will focus on better implementation and enforcement of existing EU waste legislation as well as enforcement of the Waste Shipment Regulation.
This new strategy also put forward a programme to increase the integrity and transparency of commodity derivatives markets.
The Commission will also assess whether to launch an Innovation Partnership on raw materials within the Europe 2020 Flagship on Innovation Union.
For more information, visit the following link:
 http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/files/docs/communication_en.pdf : Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Tackling the Challenges in Commodity Markets and on Raw Materials.