Rammeverk for forsyning av kritiske råvarer (CRMA)
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget)
(1) Access to raw materials is essential for the Union economy and the functioning of the internal market. There is a set of non-energy, non-agricultural raw materials that, due to their high economic importance and their exposure to high supply risk, often caused by a high concentration of supply from a few third countries, are considered critical. Given the key role of many such critical raw materials in realising the green and digital transitions, and in light of their use for defence and space applications, demand will increase exponentially in the coming decades. At the same time, the risk of supply disruptions is increasing against the background of rising geopolitical tensions and resource competition. Furthermore, if not managed properly, increased demand for critical raw materials could lead to negative environmental and social impacts. Considering these trends, it is necessary to take measures to ensure access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials to safeguard the Union's economic resilience and open strategic autonomy.
(2) Given the complexity and the transnational character of critical raw material value chains, uncoordinated national measures to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials have a high potential of distorting competition and fragmenting the internal market. Therefore, to safeguard the functioning of the internal market, a common Union framework should be created to collectively address this central challenge.
(3) Firstly, in order to effectively ensure the Union's access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, that framework should include measures to decrease the Union's growing supply risks by strengthening Union capacities along all stages of the strategic raw materials value chain, including extraction, processing and recycling, towards benchmarks defined for each strategic raw material. Secondly, as the Union will continue to rely on imports, the framework should include measures to increase the diversification of external supplies of strategic raw materials. Thirdly, is necessary to provide measures to reinforce the Union’s ability to monitor and mitigate existing and future supply risks. Fourthly, the framework should contain measures to increase the circularity and sustainability of the critical raw materials consumed in the Union.
(4) In order to ensure that the measures set out in the Regulation focus on the most relevant materials, a list of strategic raw materials and a list of critical raw materials should be established. Those lists should also serve to guide and coordinate Member States’ efforts to contribute to the realisation of the aims of this Regulation. The list of strategic raw materials should contain raw materials that are of high strategic importance, taking into account their use in strategic technologies underpinning the green and digital transitions or for defence or space applications, that are characterised by a potentially significant gap between global supply and projected demand, and for which an increase in production is relatively difficult, for instance due to long lead-times for new projects increasing supply capacity. To take account of possible technological and economic changes, the list of strategic materials should be periodically reviewed and, if necessary, updated. In order to ensure that efforts to increase the Union capacities along the value chain, reinforce the Union’s capacity to monitor and mitigate supply risks and increase diversification of supply are focused on the materials for which they are most needed, the relevant measures should only apply to the list of strategic raw materials.
(5) The list of critical raw materials should contain all strategic raw materials as well as any other raw materials of high importance for the overall Union economy and for which there is a high risk of supply disruption. To take account of possible technological and economic changes, the Commission should, in continuation of current practice, periodically perform an assessment based on data for production, trade, applications, recycling, and substitution for a wide range of raw materials to update the lists of critical and strategic raw materials reflecting the evolution in the economic importance and supply risk associated with those raw materials. The list of critical raw materials should include those raw materials which reach or exceed the thresholds for both economic importance and supply risk, without ranking the relevant raw materials in terms of criticality. This assessment should be based on an average of the latest available data over a 5-year-period. The measures set out in this Regulation related to one stop shop for permitting, planning, exploration, monitoring, circularity, and sustainability should apply to all critical raw materials.
(6) To strengthen Union capacities along the strategic raw materials value chain, benchmarks should be set to guide efforts and track progress. The aim should be to increase capacities for each strategic raw material at each stage of the value chain, while aiming to achieve overall capacity benchmarks for extraction, processing and recycling of strategic raw materials. Firstly, the Union should increase the use of its own geological resources of strategic raw materials and build up capacity to allow it to extract the materials needed to produce at least 10 % of the Union's consumption of strategic raw materials. Keeping in mind that extraction capacity is highly dependent on the availability of Union geological resources, the achievement of this benchmark is dependent on such availability. Secondly, in order to build a full value chain and prevent any bottlenecks at intermediate stages, the Union should in addition increase its processing capacity along the value chain and be able to produce at least 40 % of its annual consumption of strategic raw materials. Thirdly, it is expected that in the coming decades a growing share of the Union's consumption of strategic raw materials can be covered by secondary raw materials, which would improve both the security and the sustainability of the Union’s raw materials supply. Therefore, Union recycling capacity should be able to produce at least 15 % of the Union’s annual consumption of strategic raw materials. These benchmarks refer to the 2030 time horizon, in alignment with the Union's climate and energy targets set under Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council 29 and the digital targets under the Digital Decade 30 , which they underpin. Furthermore, quality jobs, including skills development and job-to-job transitions, will address risks in the sectoral labour market and help ensure the EU’s competitiveness.
(7) For some raw materials, the Union is almost fully dependent on a single country for its supply. Such dependencies entail a high risk of supply disruptions. To limit such potential risk and increase the Union’s economic resilience, efforts should be undertaken to ensure that, by 2030, it is not dependent on a single third country for more than 65% of its supply of any strategic raw material, unprocessed and at any stage of processing, giving however special consideration to countries with whom the Union has established a Strategic Partnership on raw materials giving rise to greater assurances regarding supply risks.
(8) It is necessary to put in place appropriate measures to support Strategic Projects aimed at the extraction, processing or recycling of strategic raw materials in the Union that should, together with Member State efforts, contribute to increasing capacities towards the benchmarks. Other measures, notably on exploration or circularity, should also contribute to the reinforcement of different stages of the value chain and thereby contribute to the achievement of the benchmarks. To ensure that the benchmarks are met in time, the Commission, with the help of the European Critical Raw Materials Board (‘the Board’) should track and report progress towards the benchmarks. In case the reported progress towards the benchmarks is generally insufficient, the Commission should assess the feasibility and proportionality of additional measures. A lack of progress only on a single or small set of strategic raw material should in principle not trigger the need for additional Union efforts.
(9) In order to build capacities in the Union, the Commission should, with the support of the Board, identify Strategic Projects in the Union that intend to become active in the extraction, processing or recycling of strategic raw materials. Effective support to Strategic Projects has the potential to improve access to materials for downstream sectors as well as to create economic opportunities along the value chain, including for SMEs, and contribute to the creation of employment. Therefore, to ensure the development of Strategic Projects across the Union, such projects should benefit from streamlined and predictable permitting procedures and support in gaining access to finance. In order to focus support and ensure their added value, projects should, before receiving such support, be assessed against a set of criteria. Strategic Projects in the Union should strengthen the Union's security of supply for strategic raw materials, show sufficient technical feasibility and be implemented in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. They should also provide cross-border benefits beyond the Member State concerned. Where the Commission assesses these criteria to be fulfilled, it should publish the recognition as a Strategic Project in a decision. As a speedy recognition is key to effectively supporting the Union's security of supply, the assessment process should remain light and not overly burdensome.
(10) In order to diversify the Union's supply of strategic raw materials, the Commission should, with the support of the Board, identify Strategic Projects in third countries that intend to become active in the extraction, processing or recycling of strategic raw materials. To ensure that such Strategic Projects are effectively implemented, they should benefit from improved access to finance. In order to ensure their added value, projects should be assessed against a set of criteria. Like projects in the Union, Strategic Projects in third countries should strengthen the Union's security of supply for strategic raw materials, show sufficient technical feasibility and be implemented sustainably. For projects in emerging markets and developing economies, the project should be mutually beneficial for the Union and the third country involved and add value in that country, taking into account also its consistency with the Union’s common commercial policy. Such value may be derived from the project’s contribution to more than one stage of the value chain as well as from creating through the project wider economic and social benefits, including the creation of employment in compliance with international standards. Where the Commission assesses these criteria to be fulfilled, it should publish the recognition as a Strategic Project in a decision.
(11)In order to ensure the sustainability of increased raw material production, new raw materials projects should be implemented sustainably. To that end, the Strategic Projects receiving support under this Regulation should be assessed taking into account international instruments covering all aspects of sustainability highlighted in the EU principles for sustainable raw materials 31 , including ensuring environmental protection, socially responsible practices, including respect for human rights such as the rights of women, and transparent business practices. Projects should also ensure engagement in good faith as well as comprehensive and meaningful consultations with local communities, including with indigenous peoples. To provide project promoters with a clear and efficient way of complying with this criterion, compliance with relevant Union legislation, international standards, guidelines and principles or participation in a certification scheme recognised under this Regulation should be considered sufficient.
(12) Any promoter of a strategic raw materials project should be able to apply to the Commission for the recognition of their project as a Strategic Project. The application should include several documents and evidence related to the criteria. To better assess the social, environmental and economic viability, the feasibility of the project as well as the level of confidence in the estimates, the project promoter should also provide a classification of the project according to the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources, and to allow for objective validation, they should support this classification with relevant evidence. A timetable for the project should also be attached to an application, in order to estimate when the project would be able to contribute towards the benchmarks for domestic capacity or for diversification. As public acceptance of mining projects is crucial for their effective implementation, the promoter should also provide a plan containing measures to facilitate public acceptance. Special attention should be paid to social partners, civil society and other oversight actors. The promoter should also provide a business plan providing information regarding the project’s financial viability and giving an overview of funding and off-take agreements already secured as well as estimates for potential job creation and for the project’s needs in terms of skilled workforce, including upskilling and reskilling.
(13) To ensure the effective and efficient treatment of applications, the Commission should be able prioritise the processing of applications for projects related to specific underrepresented value chain stages or strategic raw materials, in order to be able to ensure the Union's balanced progress towards all benchmark for Union capacity included in this Regulation.
(14) As the cooperation of the Member State on whose territory a Strategic Project will be implemented is necessary to ensure its effective implementation, that Member State should have the right to object to and thereby prevent that a project is granted the status of Strategic Project against its will. If it does so, the relevant Member State should provide a reasoned justification for its refusal referring to the applicable criteria. Similarly, the Union should not grant the status of Strategic Project to projects that will be implemented by a third country against the will of its government and should therefore refrain from doing so where a third country government objects.
(15) To prevent misuse of the recognition as Strategic Project, the Commission should be able to repeal its initial decision to recognise a project as strategic if it no longer fulfils the conditions or the recognition was based on an application containing incorrect information. Before it can do so, the Commission should consult the Board and hear the project promoter.
(16) In light of their importance for ensuring the security of supply of strategic raw materials, Strategic Projects should be considered to be in the public interest. Ensuring the security of supply of strategic raw materials is of crucial importance for the success of the green and digital transitions as well as the resilience of the defence and space sectors. To contribute towards security of supply of strategic raw materials in the Union, Member States may provide for support in national permit granting procedures to speed up the realisation of Strategic Projects in accordance with Union law.
(17) National permit-granting processes ensure that raw materials projects are safe, secure and comply with environmental, social and safety requirements. Union environmental legislation sets common conditions for the process and content of national permit-granting processes, thereby ensuring a high level of environmental protection and allowing for the sustainable exploitation of the Union's potential along the raw materials value chain. Being granted the status of Strategic Project should therefore be without prejudice to any applicable permitting conditions for the relevant projects, including those set out in Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council 32 , Council Directive 92/43/EEC 33 , Directive 2000/60/EC 34 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directive 2010/75/EU 35 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2004/35/CE 36 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directive 2009/147/EC 37 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Directive 2006/21/EC 38 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
(18) At the same time, the unpredictability, complexity and, at times, excessive length of national permit-granting processes undermines the investment security needed for the effective development of strategic raw material projects. Therefore, in order to ensure and speed up their effective implementation, Member States should apply streamlined and predictable permitting procedure to Strategic Projects. To that end, Strategic Projects should be given priority status at national level to ensure rapid administrative treatment and urgent treatment in all judicial and dispute resolution procedures relating to them. This Regulation should not prevent competent authorities from streamlining permitting for other projects on the critical raw materials value chain that are not Strategic Projects.
(19) Given their role in ensuring the Union's security of supply for strategic raw materials, and their contribution to the Union's open strategic autonomy and the green and digital transition, Strategic Projects should be considered by the responsible permitting authority as being in the public interest. Strategic Projects which have an adverse impact on the environment, to the extent it falls under the scope of Directive 2000/60/EC, Council Directive 92/43/EEC and Directive 2009/147/EC 39 may be authorised where the responsible permitting authority concludes, based on its case-by-case assessment, that the public interest served by the project overrides those impacts, provided that all relevant conditions set out in those Directives are met. Where relevant, the case-by-case assessment should take into account the geological specificity of extraction sites, which constrains decisions on location.
(20) In order to reduce complexity and increase efficiency and transparency in permitting process, project promoters of critical raw materials projects should be able to interact with a single national authority, which is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the entire permit granting process and in the case of Strategic Projects shall issue a comprehensive decision within the applicable time limit. To that end, Member States should designate a single national competent authority. Where needed in light of a Member State's internal organisation, the tasks of the national competent authority should be able to be delegated to a different authority, subject to the same conditions. To ensure the effective implementation of its responsibilities, Member States should provide their national competent authority, or any authority acting on its behalf, with sufficient personnel and resources.
(21) In order to ensure clarity about the permitting status of Strategic Projects and to limit the effectiveness of potential abusive litigation, while not undermining effective judicial review, Member States should ensure that any dispute concerning the permit granting process for Strategic Projects is resolved in a timely manner. To that end, national competent authorities should ensure that applicants and project promoters have access to simple dispute settlement procedure and that Strategic Projects are granted urgent treatment in all judicial and dispute resolution procedures relating to the projects.
(22) In order to allow citizens and businesses to directly enjoy the benefits of the internal market without incurring an unnecessary additional administrative burden, Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 of the European Parliament and the Council 40 , which established the Single Digital Gateway, provides for general rules for the online provision of information, procedures and assistance services relevant for the functioning of the internal market. The information requirements and procedures covered by this Regulation should comply with the requirements of Regulation (EU) 2018/1724. In particular, it should be ensured that project promoters of Strategic Project can access and complete any procedure related to the permit granting process fully online, in line with Article 6(1) of and Annex II to Regulation (EU) 2018/1724.
(23) In order to provide project promoters and other investors with the security and clarity needed to increase development of Strategic Project, Member States should ensure that the permit granting process related to such projects does not exceed pre-set time limit. For Strategic Projects involving only processing or recycling, the length of the permit granting process should not exceed 1 year. However, for Strategic Projects that involve extraction the length of the permit granting process should, considering the complexity and extent of the potential impacts involved, not exceed 2 years. To effectively achieve those time limits, Member States should ensure that the responsible authorities have sufficient resources and personnel. Through the Technical Support Instrument, the Commission supports Member States, upon their request, in designing, developing and implementing reforms including the strengthening the administrative capacity related to national permitting.
(24) The environmental assessments and authorisations required under Union law, including in relation to water, habitats and birds, are an integral part of the permit granting process for a raw material project and an essential safeguard to ensure that negative environmental impacts are prevented or minimised. However, in order to ensure that the permit granting processes for Strategic Projects are predictable and timely, any potential to streamline the required assessments and authorisations while not lowering the level of environmental protection should be realised. In that regard, it should be ensured that the necessary assessment are bundled to prevent unnecessary overlap and it should be ensured that project promoters and responsible authorities explicitly agree on the scope of the bundled assessment before it is implemented to prevent unnecessary follow-up.
(25) Land use conflicts can create barriers to the deployment of critical raw material projects. Well-designed plans, including spatial plans and zoning, that take into account the potential for implementing critical raw material projects and whose potential environmental impacts are assessed, have the potential to help balance public goods and interests, decreasing the risk of conflict and accelerating the sustainable deployment of raw materials projects in the Union. Responsible national, regional and local authorities should therefore consider including provisions for raw materials projects when developing relevant plans.
(26) Within the Union, critical raw materials projects often face difficulties with access to finance. Critical raw materials markets are often characterised by high volatility of prices, long lead times, high concentration and opacity. Additionally, financing for the sector requires a high level of expert knowledge that is often lacking among financial institutions. To overcome these factors and contribute towards ensuring a stable and reliable supply of strategic raw materials, Member States and the Commission should assist in access to finance and administrative support.
(27) A strong value chain in Europe can be built only with adequate financial means. The Commission will work with InvestEU implementing partners to seek ways to scale up support to investment in line with the common objectives set out in Regulation (EU) 2021/523 41 and in this Regulation. The InvestEU Advisory Hub can contribute to the build-up of pipeline of viable projects.
(28) In order to overcome the limitations of the currently often fragmented public and private investments efforts, facilitate integration and return on investment, the Commission, Member States and promotional banks should better coordinate and create synergies between the existing funding programmes at Union and national level as well as ensure better coordination and collaboration with industry and key private sector stakeholders. To that end, a dedicated sub-group of the Board bringing together experts from the Member States and the Commission as well as relevant public financial institutions should be set up. This sub-group should discuss the individual financing needs of Strategic Projects and their existing funding possibilities in order to provide project promoters with a suggestion on how to best access existing financing possibilities. When discussing and making recommendations for the financing of Strategic Projects in third countries, the Board should in particular take into account the Global Gateway strategy 42 .
(29) Private investment by companies, financial investors and off takers is essential. Where private investment alone is not sufficient, the effective roll-out of projects along the critical raw material value chain may require public support, for example in the form of guarantees, loans or equity and quasi-equity investments. This public support may constitute State aid. Such aid must have an incentive effect and be necessary, appropriate and proportionate. The existing State aid guidelines, which have recently undergone an in-depth revision in line with twin transition objectives, provide ample possibilities to support investments along the critical raw materials value chain subject to certain conditions.
(30) Public support is used to address specific identified market failures or sub-optimal investment situations in a proportionate manner, and actions should not duplicate or crowd out private financing or distort competition in the internal market. Actions should have a clear added value for the Union.
(31) The volatile prices of several strategic raw materials, exacerbated by limited means to hedge them on forward markets, create an obstacle both for project promoters to secure financing for strategic raw material projects as well as for downstream consumers looking to secure stable and predictable prices for key inputs. In an effort to reduce uncertainty over future prices for strategic raw materials, it is necessary to provide for the setting up of a system that enables both interested off-takers and promoters of Strategic Projects to indicate their buying or selling bids and to bring them in contact if the respective bids are potentially compatible.
(32) The existing knowledge and mapping of the Union’s raw materials occurrences were developed at a time when ensuring the supply of critical raw materials for the development of strategic technologies was not a priority. To acquire and update information on the critical raw material occurrences, Member States should draw up national programmes for the general exploration of critical raw materials, which should include measure such as mineral mapping, geochemical campaigns, geoscientific surveys as well as the reprocessing of existing geoscientific datasets. The identification of mineral occurrences and the assessment of the technical and economic viability to extract them involves high financial. To lower that risk and facilitate the development of extraction projects, Member States should make publicly available the information acquired during their respective national exploration programme, where appropriate using the framework of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information established by Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and the Council 43 .
(33) Space data and services derived from earth observation can support the efforts towards sustainable critical raw materials value chains by providing a continuous flow of information, which could be useful for activities such as monitoring and management of mining areas, the environmental and socio-economic impact assessment, or mineral resource exploration. As earth observation is also able to provide data about remote and inaccessible areas, it should be considered by Member States when drawing up and implementing their national exploration programmes to the extent possible.
(34) Although the reinforcement of the Union’s critical raw materials value chain is necessary to ensure increased security of supply, the supply chains of critical raw materials will remain global and exposed to external factors. Recent or ongoing events ranging from the COVID-19 crisis to the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine underlined the vulnerability of some of the Union’s supply chains to disruptions. In order to ensure that Member States and European industries are able to anticipate supply disruption and prepared to withstand their consequences, measures should be developed to increase monitoring capacity, coordinate strategic stocks and reinforce the preparedness of companies.
(35) Member States do not have the same capacity when it comes to risk-awareness and anticipation, and not all Member States have developed dedicated structures that monitor the supply chains of critical raw materials and can inform companies about potential risks of supply disruptions. Similarly, although some companies have invested in the monitoring of their supply chains, others lack the capacity to do so. Therefore, in light of the global dimension of critical raw materials supply chains as well as their complexity, the Commission should develop a dedicated monitoring dashboard assessing critical raw materials’ supply risks and ensure the availability of the information gathered for public authorities and private actors, thereby increasing synergies amongst Member States. In order to ensure that Union value chains are sufficiently prepared against potential supply disruptions, the Commission should conduct stress tests assessing the vulnerability of the strategic raw materials supply chains and their exposure to supply risks. Member States should contribute to this exercise by, when possible conducting such stress tests through their national supply and information agencies covering critical raw materials. The Board should ensure the coordination of the implementation of the stress tests by the Commission and Member States. When no Member State has the capacity to perform a required stress test on a given strategic raw material, the Commission should conduct it itself. When making the results of such stress tests publicly available, the Commission should also suggest potential strategies that can be adopted by the public authorities and private actors to mitigate supply risks, such as building strategic stocks or further diversifying their supply. For the purpose of gathering the information necessary to conduct the monitoring and stress tests measures, the Commission should coordinate with the relevant standing subgroup of the Board and Member States should identify and monitor key market operators that are important to the functioning of the value chain. When no member of the standing sub-group has the capacity to perform a required stress test on a given strategic raw material, the Commission should conduct it itself.
(36) Strategic stocks are an important tool to mitigate supply disruptions, notably for raw materials. Although the proposed Single Market Emergency Instrument allows for the possible development of such stocks in the event of the activation of the Single Market vigilance mode, Member States and companies do not have obligations to build up or coordinate their strategic stocks ahead of a supply disruption. In addition, there is no coordination mechanism across the European Union that allows for the development of a common assessment and of an analysis of potential overlaps and synergies. Therefore, as a first step, and taking account of the present lack of relevant information, Member States should provide to the Commission information about their strategic stocks, whether they are operated by public authorities or by economic operators on the behalf of the Member States. Such information should include the level of stock available per strategic raw material, the outlook of stock levels, and the rules and procedures applicable to these stocks. Any request should be proportionate, have regard for the cost and effort required to make the data available as well as for its impact on national security, and set out appropriate time limits for providing the requested information. Information on the stocks of economic operators may be added to the analysis, albeit this does not constitute a request for information on them. The Commission should handle the data in a secure manner, and only publish information on an aggregate level. As a second step, based on the information acquired, the Commission should develop a draft benchmark for what should be considered a safe level of Union stocks, taking into account the total annual Union consumption of the concerned strategic raw materials. Based on a comparison between existing stocks and the overall levels of strategic stocks for strategic raw materials across the Union, the Board, acting in agreement with the Commission, should then be able to issue non-binding opinions to Member States on how to increase convergences and to encourage them in building up their strategies stocks. In doing so, the Board should consider the need to maintain incentives for the development of strategic stocks by private operators using strategic raw materials.
(37) So as to ensure further coordination, the Commission should ensure necessary consultation ahead of Member States’ participation in international fora where such strategic stocks may be discussed, notably via the dedicated standing sub-group of the Board. Similarly, in order to increase complementarity between the present proposal and other horizontal or subject-specific instruments, the Commission should ensure that the gathered and aggregated information are passed to vigilance or crisis governance mechanisms, such as the proposed Single Market Emergency Instrument's advisory group, the proposed Chips Act's European Semiconductor Board, the HERA Board or the Health Crisis Board.
(38) In order to ensure that they are sufficiently prepared to face supply disruptions, large companies manufacturing strategic technologies in the Union using strategic raw materials should audit their supply chains and report accordingly to their board of directors. This will ensure that they take into account the supply risks of strategic raw materials and develop appropriate mitigation strategies to be better prepared in the event of a supply disruption. Similarly, the large companies falling within this scope should run regular stress tests of their strategic raw materials supply chains to ensure that they consider all different scenarios that may affect their supply in the event of a disruption. These measures will lead to additional considerations being given to the costs of potential supply risks.
(39) Many markets for strategic raw materials are not fully transparent and are concentrated on the supply side, which increases the negotiating power of sellers and increases prices for buyers. To help lower prices for undertaking established in the Union, the Commission should set up a system that is able to aggregate the demand of interested buyers. In developing such a system, the Commission should take into account experience gained in similar endeavours, in particular regarding the joint purchasing of gas as established under Council Regulation 2022/2576 44 . Member State authorities should also be able to participate in this system in order to build up their strategic stocks. All measures under this mechanism should be compatible with Union competition law.
(40) The provisions on monitoring and strategic stocks included in this Regulation do not entail the harmonisation of national laws and regulations and do not replace existing mechanisms. Monitoring and risk preparedness incentives should be in line with European instruments. Therefore, instruments such as the Single Market Emergency Instrument proposal aiming to anticipate, mitigate and respond to crisis affecting the functioning of the Single Market or the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/2372 45 on a framework of measures for ensuring the supply of crisis-relevant medical countermeasures in the event of a public health emergency at Union level, could still apply to critical and strategic raw materials in the event of a crisis or a threat to the extent that those materials fall within the scope of such instruments. Complementarity and coherence between this Regulation and crisis instruments should be ensured through exchange of information.
(41) Most critical raw materials are metals, which can be in principle endlessly recycled, albeit with sometimes deteriorating qualities. This offers the potential to move to a truly circular economy in the context of the green transition. After an initial phase of rapid growth of demand for critical raw material for new technologies, where primary extraction and processing will still constitute the predominant source, recycling should become increasingly important and reduce the need for primary extraction and its associated impacts. Today, however, recycling rates of most critical raw materials are low, and recycling systems and technologies are often not adapted to the specificities of these raw materials. Action addressing the different factors holding back the circularity potential is thus required.
(42) Member States retain important competences in the field of circularity, for example in the area of waste collection and treatment systems. These should be used to increase collection and recycling rates for waste streams with a high potential for recovery of critical raw materials, making use for example of financial incentives such as discounts, monetary rewards or deposit-refund systems. Member State authorities should also make a difference as buyers of critical raw materials and of products containing them, and national research and innovation programmes provide significant resources to increase the state of knowledge and technology for critical raw materials circularity as well as material efficiency. Finally, Member States should promote the recovery of critical raw materials from extractive waste by improving the availability of information and by addressing legal, economic and technical barriers. One possible solution that Member States should look into are risk-sharing mechanisms between operators and the Member State to promote recovery from closed waste facilities.
(43) The Union has, in many of its regions, a legacy of raw materials extraction and thus substantial amounts of extractive waste on closed facilities which, due to their only recent rise in economic importance, have generally not been analysed for critical raw materials potential. The recovery of critical raw materials from extractive waste facilities has the potential to create economic value and employment in historical mining regions, which are often affected by deindustrialisation and decline. The lack of attention to, and information on critical raw materials content, especially on closed waste facilities, constitutes a key barrier to greater use of the critical raw materials potential of extractive waste.
(44) The recovery of critical raw materials from extractive waste facilities should be part of the valorisation of relevant waste facilities. Directive 2006/21/EC sets out high requirements of environmental and human health protection for the waste management of the extractive industry. While these high requirements should be maintained, it is appropriate to establish additional measures to maximise the recovery of critical raw materials from extractive waste.
(45) Operators of extractive waste facilities, both existing and new, should perform a preliminary economic assessment study regarding the recovery of critical raw materials from extractive waste present on the site and from such waste being generated. In line with the waste hierarchy established in Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 46 , priority should be given to preventing the generation of waste containing critical raw materials, by extracting critical raw materials from the extracted volume prior to it becoming waste. In elaborating this study, operators should gather the necessary information, including concentrations and quantities of critical raw materials in the extractive waste, and perform an assessment of multiple options regarding processes, operations or business arrangements that could enable an economically viable recovery of critical raw materials. This obligation comes in addition to obligations laid down in Directive 2006/21/EC and the national laws transposing it and is directly applicable. In its implementation, operators and competent authorities should seek to minimise administrative burden and integrate procedures to the extent possible.
(46) To address the current lack of information on the critical raw materials potential of closed extractive waste facilities, Member States should draw up a database containing all information relevant to promote the recovery, notably the quantities and concentrations of critical raw materials in the extractive waste facility, in compliance with Union competition rules. The information should be made publicly available and in a user-friendly and digital form, enabling access to more detailed, technical information. To facilitate user-friendly access to the information, Member States should for instance provide a point of contact to enable more in-depth exchanges with potential developers of critical raw materials recovery projects. The database should be designed to allow potential project promoters to easily identify facilities with a high potential for economically viable recovery. To focus limited resources, Member States should follow a staged approach in the collection of information and perform the more demanding information collection steps only for the most promising facilities. The information collection activities should be aimed at providing accurate and representative information on the extractive waste facilities and gaining the best possible indication of the critical raw materials recovery potential.
(47) Permanent magnets are incorporated in a wide variety of products, with wind turbines and electric vehicles being the most important and fastest-growing applications but also other products, including magnet resonance imaging devices, industrial robots, light means of transport, cooling generators, heat pumps, electric motors, industrial electric pumps, automatic washing machines, tumble driers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers containing significant amounts worth recovering. Most permanent magnets, especially the most performant types, contain critical raw materials, such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, boron, samarium, nickel or cobalt. Their recycling is possible but today only performed in the Union at a small scale or in the context of research projects. Permanent magnets should therefore be a priority product for increasing circularity.
(48) A precondition for effective magnet recycling is for recyclers to have access to the necessary information on the amount, type and chemical composition of magnets in a product, their location and the coating, glues and additives used, as well as information on how to remove the permanent magnets from the product. In addition, to ensure a business case for magnet recycling, permanent magnets incorporated in products placed on the Union market should, over time, contain an increasing amount of recycled materials. While providing transparency on the recycled content in a first stage, a minimum content of recycled content should be set after a dedicated assessment of the appropriate level and likely impacts.
(49) Critical raw materials sold on the Union market are often certified regarding the sustainability of their production and supply chain. Certification can be obtained in the context of a broad range of public and private certification schemes available with varying scopes and stringency, creating the potential for confusion regarding the nature and veracity of claims made about the relative sustainability of critical raw materials placed on the Union market based on such certification. The Commission should be empowered to adopt implementing acts recognising certification schemes that should be considered comprehensive and trustworthy, providing a common basis for authorities and market participants for assessing the sustainability of critical raw materials. Recognition should be given only to certification schemes that cover a broad range of sustainability aspects, including environmental protection, human rights including labour rights and business transparency, and which contain provisions for independent third party verification and monitoring of compliance. To ensure efficient procedures, promoters of projects applying to be recognised as Strategic Projects should be allowed to rely on participation in a recognised scheme to show that their project is implemented sustainably.
(50) The production of critical raw materials at different stages of the value chain causes environmental impacts, whether on climate, water, fauna or flora. In order to limit such damage and incentivise the production of more sustainable critical raw materials, the Commission should be empowered to develop a system for the calculation of the environmental footprint of critical raw materials, including a verification process, to ensure that critical raw materials placed on the Union market publicly display information on such footprint. The system should be based on taking into account scientifically sound assessment methods and relevant international standards in the area of life cycle assessment. The requirement to declare the environmental footprint of a material should only apply where it has been concluded, based on a dedicated assessment, that it would contribute to the Union’s climate and environmental objectives by facilitating the procurement of critical raw materials with lower environmental footprint and would not disproportionately affect trade flows. When the relevant calculation methods have been adopted, the Commission should develop performance classes for critical raw materials, thereby allowing potential buyers to easily compare the relative environmental footprint of available materials and driving the market towards more sustainable materials. Sellers of critical raw materials should ensure that the environmental footprint declaration is available to their customers. Transparency on the relative footprint of critical raw materials placed on the Union market may also enable other policies at Union and national level, such as incentives or green public procurement criteria, fostering the production of critical raw materials with lower environmental impacts.
(51) The Environmental Footprint methods constitute a relevant basis for the development of the calculation rules. They rely on scientifically sound assessment methods which take into account developments on international level and cover environmental impacts, including climate change and impacts related to water, air, soil, resources, land use and toxicity.
(52) It should be ensured that responsible operators assess the conformity of their products or materials with requirements to improve the circularity of permanent magnets and on the declaration of the environmental footprint of critical raw materials before placing them on the market and that those requirements are effectively enforced by competent national authorities. The conformity and market surveillance provisions established under Regulation 2019/1020 and Regulation (EU) 2023/xxx [OP: please insert reference to ESPR], are designed to address this challenge and should therefore apply also to those requirements. To further ensure that optimal use is made of existing frameworks, it should be ensured that for products that are subject to type approval under Regulation 2018/858 or Regulation 168/2013, compliance is enforced through the existing type approval system.
(53) The Commission should, as provided in Article 10(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012, request one or more European standardisation organisations to draft European standards in support of the objectives of this Regulation.
(54) The Union has concluded Strategic Partnerships covering raw materials with third countries in order to implement the 2020 Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials. In order to diversify supply, these efforts should continue. To develop and ensure a coherent framework for the conclusion of future partnerships, the Member States and the Commission should, as part of their interaction on the Board, discuss and ensure coordination on, inter alia, whether existing partnerships achieve the intended aims, the prioritisation of third countries for new partnerships, the content of such partnerships and their coherence and potential synergies between Member States' bilateral cooperation with relevant third countries. The Union should seek mutually beneficial partnerships with emerging market and developing economies, in coherence with its Global Gateway strategy, which contribute to the diversification of its raw materials supply chain as well as add value in the production in these countries.
(55)I n order to support the implementation of tasks pertaining to the development of Strategic Projects and their financing, exploration programmes, monitoring capacities or strategic stocks and to advise the Commission appropriately, a European Critical Raw Materials Board should be established. The Board should be composed of Member States and of the Commission, while being able to ensure participation of other parties as observers. To develop the necessary expertise for the implementation of certain tasks, the Board should establish standing sub-groups on financing, exploration, monitoring and strategic stocks, that should act as a network by gathering the different relevant national authorities and, when necessary, consult industry, academia, civil society and other relevant stakeholders. The Board’s advice and opinions should be non-binding and the absence of such an advice or opinion should not prevent the Commission from performing its tasks under this Regulation.
(56) The absence of progress towards the objectives, including the capacity and diversification benchmarks, may indicate the need for adopting additional measures. The Commission should therefore monitor the progress towards those objectives.
(57) To keep administrative burden put on Member States to a minimum, the different reporting obligations should be streamlined and the Commission should develop a template allowing Member States to fulfil their reporting obligations on projects, exploration, monitoring or strategic stocks within a regularly published single document, that may be confidential or restricted.
(58) In order to ensure trustful and constructive cooperation of competent authorities at Union and national levels, all parties involved in the application of this Regulation should respect the confidentiality of information and data obtained in carrying out their tasks. The Commission and the national competent authorities, their officials, civil servants and other persons working under the supervision of these authorities as well as officials and civil servants of other authorities of the Member States should not disclose information acquired or exchanged by them pursuant to this Regulation and of the kind covered by the obligation of professional secrecy. This should also apply to the European Critical Raw Materials Board. The data should be handled and stored in a secure environment.
(59) When adopting delegated acts pursuant to Article 290 TFEU, it is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making 47 . In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
(60) In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission as regards: (a) specifying the templates to be used for applications for recognition of Strategic Projects, progress reports related to Strategic Projects, the national exploration programmes, and the reporting of Member States pertaining to exploration, monitoring, strategic stocks and circularity; (b) specifying which products, components and waste streams shall be considered to have a high critical raw materials recovery potential; and (c) determining the criteria and their application for the recognition of schemes related to the sustainability of critical raw materials. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council 48 .
(61) To ensure that the obligations imposed under this Regulation are complied with, in particular as regards the fact that they comply with ecodesign requirements, companies that do not comply with their obligation, including on risk preparedness, project reporting and recyclability information, should be subject to penalties. It is therefore necessary that Member States lay down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in national law for failure to comply with this Regulation.
(62) The Commission should carry out an evaluation of this Regulation. Pursuant to paragraph 22 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, that evaluation should be based on the five criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and EU value added and should provide the basis for impact assessments of possible further measures. The Commission should submit to the European Parliament, to the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, a report on the implementation of this Regulation and progress towards achieving its objectives, including the capacity and diversification benchmarks. The report should also, based on the implementation of the measures related the transparency of the environmental footprint of critical raw materials, assess the appropriateness of establishing maximum thresholds related to the environmental footprint.
(63) To the extent that any of the measures envisaged by the present Regulation constitute State aid, the provisions concerning such measures are without prejudice to the application of Articles 107 and 108 the Treaty.
(64) Since the objectives of this Regulation, namely to improve the functioning of internal market establishing a framework to ensure the Union's access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, but can rather, by reason of its scale and effects, only be achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective,