July 19, 2024

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The EU has been slow to cooperate with the US against China

The EU has been slow to cooperate with the US against China

InternationalDec 14 ’22 at 7:13 PMModified on 15 Dec ’22 at 10:47Author of the book: Mark VanHarveldt

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen wants more cooperation with the US in the raw materials sector. CDA MEP Tom Berendsen calls such a raw materials club ‘too late’. According to TU Delft assistant professor and industrial ecologist Benjamin Sprecher, 30 raw materials are the most important of Von der Leyen’s list of 80 raw materials.

Berendsen calls the initiative too late, but says it is necessary to begin with China’s dependence on China. ‘We need to reduce that dependence as soon as possible.’ According to Berendsen, van der Leyen’s plan includes a wide range of measures to reduce dependency and is about greater collaboration with key partners to obtain better raw materials.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen wants more cooperation with the US in the raw materials sector. (ANP / Associated Press)

It aims not only to the US, but also to countries such as Canada, Norway and Chile, jointly managing raw material flows and investing in, for example, mining infrastructure. But, says Berendsen, Europe must also be willing to get its own hands dirty. Because European soil also contains important raw materials. Winning it is ‘dirty and harmful’. Finally, more attention should be paid to the circular economy: ‘There is much to do.’

Also Read | EU wants to join US in raw materials war with China

According to industrial ecologist Benjamin Sprecher, van der Leyen has a catalog that covers “almost the entire periodic table”. ‘Important metals for energy conversion, for military purposes, all metals that conduct electricity, lithium, cobalt.’

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Sprecher says Europe’s dependence on China is many times greater than on Russia, even if other goods are involved. And then it’s not just about the minerals, it’s about refining those minerals into usable chemicals – which mostly takes place in China. “If China stops it, we’ll be flat.”

Strategic thinking

Berendsen refers to the initiative of Joe Biden, who offered a large package that Europeans say upsets the balance. However, according to Berendsen, America is thinking strategically and Europe needs to do the same. In fact, America wants Europe to join them.

Also Read | ‘Europe is a long way from standing on its own two feet’

According to Berendsen, Europe has long naively believed in market forces, whereby automotive nations such as Russia and China automatically ‘adopt our values’. Nothing has become less true. ‘We’ve left too much to the market and it’s time for governments, companies and knowledge institutions to join forces, because now we’re losing. It is important that Member States implement it.’

Also look at China’s influence on ports

Berendsen, this involves more than the sourcing of raw materials, but also concerns China’s acquired interests, for example, in European ports. ‘These are public interests and should be looked at differently.’ The MEP argues that European state aid rules should be relaxed to encourage innovation. In his view, compensation should be given to countries that do not have the money to invest in it. He supports putting money into European business; Towards the ‘Made in EU’ label.