Response to the US and China: Brussels plans the future of industrial production

TOFor a short time, it looked like the EU Commission would have to delay the planned passage of its proposed law to crack down on mining and the future of green technology in Europe. There were too few commissioners. According to the charter, the body has a quorum only if there are twelve people. But since many people weren’t in Brussels due to an unusual meeting on Thursday, it was very exciting when only eleven seats were taken – until the late traffic commissioner Adina Valean arrived. It would also be necessary to discuss the content. Some commissioners are not happy at all. “Too many old recipes, too much planned economy,” they said later. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen pushed through both projects.

In fact, the Commission is proposing new capital to the world with the “Critical Raw Materials Act”, which is designed to promote the extraction, processing and processing of 18 strategically important raw materials, and the “Clean Zero Industry Act”, which is designed to support the creation of a future-oriented green technology industrial policy. These two laws are designed to make the EU more independent of China and keep it from falling behind in competition with the US and China. They are a response to both the Made in China 2025 program and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), through which the US allocates some $369 billion for green technologies.

From 0 to 40 in 7 years

First of all, the Commission wants to respond to this by introducing promotion and production quotas. The Raw Materials Act stipulates that by the end of the decade, 10 per cent of the required raw materials will come from Europe. We are talking about lithium, also known as “white gold”, or rare earth elements that are indispensable for the production of smartphones, windmills or car batteries. 40 percent of this raw material must be recycled or purified in the EU, 15 percent must be obtained through recycling. It’s ambitious. At present, the share of own funds in consumption is only 3 percent. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said the number of refineries that process and process raw materials is heading towards zero.

The main problem for the EU is that some countries, primarily China, have a virtual monopoly. “99 percent of the borates needed for wind power, magnets and semiconductors come from Turkey, 97 percent of magnesium from China, 63 percent of cobalt for batteries and high-strength light alloys for defense and aerospace come from the Democratic Republic. Congo,” Breton lists. In addition, 60 percent will be processed in China. First of all, Beijing has created a unique position for itself through the purposeful development of its own oil refineries. “With its virtual monopoly on rare earths and permanent magnets, Beijing has a geopolitical tool in its hands,” he warns.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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