Today, Parliament voted on the critical raw materials regulation.

The compromise passed in the vote is an improvement on the original proposal from the European Commission, and today, The Left secured important protections for the rights of indigenous people. However, the right blocked our efforts to regulate private certification schemes and for a moratorium on exploration in protected areas.

Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke) said: “The European raw materials law is the first of its kind and was long overdue. The European Parliament’s position represents a significant improvement compared to the Commission’s proposal. I am particularly pleased that subsequent amendments have also strengthened the rights of indigenous groups. We would not have been able to talk about raw materials partnerships on an equal footing if indigenous communities in third countries had been ignored. However, the fact that conservatives, liberals and right-wing extremists have blocked amendments that would have stopped mining in nature reserves shows that they are still stuck in an old way of thinking in which industrial policy is made at the expense of environmental protection. But both go together!”

The critical raw materials regulation is the EU’s answer to the American Inflation Reduction Act. Its aim is to reinforce European autonomy on certain raw materials that are vital to the green transition and defence. Many materials are used in different technologies, ranging from solar panels and batteries to tanks.

The Commission proposal sets benchmarks to increase domestic capacity for raw materials extraction, processing and recycling, with aspirational targets corresponding to 10, 40 and 15% of the EU’s annual consumption. But the Parliament turned this logic around to ensure the EU recycles directly from its own waste streams.

The next step will be interinstitutional negotiations with the European Council. The Left will keep fighting to ensure that positive elements, such as the stricter social and environmental criteria for the recognition of strategic projects are retained. Trade policy aspects, such as the fact that emerging and developing countries should benefit more from technology transfers of recycling technologies, must also be preserved in the final text.

“I expect Ms. Beer not to use the improved ecological and social components as a bargaining chip, but rather to consistently represent the mandate of the European Parliament at this point. It also has to be about creating coherence within the text. So far, there are contradictory elements in the text, for example with regard to deep-sea mining. The trilogue must make it clear that environmentally harmful deep-sea mining is not an option for Europe,” concluded Ernst.

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