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Serbia and EU forge strategic partnership on critical raw materials and electric vehicles

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In September, Serbia and the European Commission entered into a Letter of Intent aimed at establishing a strategic partnership in critical raw materials and electric vehicle value chains, encompassing materials, batteries, production, and recycling. Despite being signed by Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, and Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić, the actual contents of the letter have remained undisclosed to the public.

When asked by Nova Ekonomija whether lithium mining projects in Serbia are potentially part of this strategic partnership, the European Commission responded affirmatively, indicating that such projects, like others involving raw material extraction, could be included. They expressed optimism that this partnership on critical raw materials would be ready for formalization “relatively soon.”

Regarding any developments post the Letter of Intent signing, the European Commission explained that they are proposing the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding based on the Letter of Intent, to formalize the strategic partnership in sustainable raw materials, battery value chains, and electric vehicles.

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Furthermore, discussions are ongoing between the European Commission and the Council of the European Union to secure a mandate to proceed with the partnership with Serbia, with hopes of finalizing the strategic partnership in the near future.

The Letter of Intent, according to the European Commission, represents a significant step toward creating a sustainable and competitive e-mobility ecosystem in Serbia.

The ongoing green and digital transition, as emphasized by the European Commission, will significantly shape the future of the European Union, Serbia, and global economies.

Investments in raw materials, batteries, and e-mobility are expected to stimulate economic development and contribute to Serbia’s social agenda by generating growth and creating clean, well-paying jobs.

When inquired about whether the strategic partnership encompasses lithium mining projects, the European Commission clarified that while their strategic partnerships offer a framework for collaboration across various raw material value chains, memoranda of understanding do not specifically address individual projects or raw materials.

Additionally, the European Commission confirmed that discussions have continued with Serbia on this topic and expressed hope that the strategic partnership would soon be ready for formalization.

Nova Ekonomija reached out to the European Commission several times in late last year and early this year regarding the Letter of Intent. In January, it was confirmed that the Letter had been signed, and both parties agreed to establish a working group to identify a list of joint activities (projects) that would be the essence of the partnership.

The text of the Letter of Intent has since been published on the European Commission’s website.

The European Union has existing strategic partnership memoranda on raw materials with various countries, as listed on their website.

The recent adoption of the Critical Raw Materials Act by the Council of the European Union aims to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials for the EU industry and reduce dependence on single-country imports.

In conclusion, Serbia could play a significant role in providing critical raw materials to the European Union, particularly refined lithium, according to EU projections.

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