‘Open strategic autonomy’:
A vision for Europe’s raw materials future
This week, I took the initiative to draft a letter which was signed by 66 Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum addressed to Commissioners Phil Hogan, Thierry Breton, Maros Sefcovic, and Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans calling for the European Commission to deliver a bold agenda for its Open Strategic Autonomy, particularly focusing on raw materials necessary for achieving climate-neutrality and the digital transition. This agenda should balance the need for supply resilience while always championing multilateral, free, fair and value-based trade.
“Europe’s green recovery will be based on industrial leadership in the production of batteries, electric vehicles, computers, solar panels and wind turbines … this objective is jeopardized by our increasing reliance on China and other regions for supplying the metals and minerals required by those technologies in higher volumes – from critical raw materials (e.g. cobalt, lithium, silicon, rare earths) to those where Europe has a sustainable but weakened industrial base (e.g. aluminium, copper, nickel).”
Strategic industries have been at the heart of the European project for the last 70 years. Robert Schuman had originally envisioned a Europe “united around its “common foundations for economic development”. This is an opportunity to realise Schuman’s vision to unite European nations this time around the goal of Open Strategic Autonomy.
I am optimistic this letter gathering MEPs from 17 different Member States and from all the political groups (EPP, S&D, Renew, Greens/EFA, ECR, and GUE/NGL), will pressure the European Commission into taking actions on this issue.