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European metals supply for the green and digital transitions

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The European metals industry, including both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, has initiated the process to establish its own EU Transition Pathway in collaboration with the European Commission. The metals sector plays a pivotal role in facilitating the EU’s green and digital transitions by enabling several strategic value chains at the core of the clean tech economy. The objective of this comprehensive plan is to ensure the sustainability and resilience of the metals sector, aligning it with the overarching objectives of the EU twin transition.

As other regions worldwide are equally transitioning towards a more digital and greener economy, the demand for metals is rapidly increasing, often designating them as critical resources for clean energy and electronic technologies. Steel and a wide range of non-ferrous metals – such as aluminium, copper, nickel, zinc, and lithium – are indispensable components of this transition: they are essential for electric vehicles, wind, solar and hydrogen technologies, to name a few. Europe must ensure the security and sustainability of its metals supply to deliver on its 2030 clean energy goals.

This underscores the importance of establishing a healthy and resilient metals sector as a key factor for the EU’s strategic autonomy. The metals sector is also a key pillar of the EU economy, providing over 800,000 direct jobs and over 5 million indirect jobs.

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The Transition Pathway will lay out the main challenges to be faced, the investments required to overcome them, and the necessary policy framework and conditions to encourage these investments. The process will accelerate over the next semester, with the objective of completing the work by the end of March 2024.

Guy Tiran, Eurometaux Director General, says: “The faster Europe decarbonises, the higher its metals requirements. We’re excited to be working with the European Commission on a Transition Pathway for Metals that will bring all stakeholders around the table to tackle the security and sustainability challenge ahead. Our industry has the ambition to supply more of the metals that Europe will need for its batteries, renewable energy technologies, and grids – at the same time as decarbonising, recycling more, and continually lowering our environmental footprint.

Achieving this ambition requires a more comprehensive EU industrial policy, uniting all policy areas to help our companies compete globally. We want the Transition Pathway for Metals to be a step forward for Europe and its work ahead to deliver an effective policy package for growing tomorrow’s clean energy supply chains”.

Axel Eggert, EUROFER Director General, says: “The Transition Pathway for Metals is a timely opportunity to collectively craft a long-term vision for our industry with a fresh approach that transcends policy silos and encompasses various areas, from decarbonisation to energy and circularity policies. An effective co-creation process, founded on dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, will be crucial to produce a pathway that can be put into practice.

Steel is 100% recyclable and a core material in all low-carbon technologies, ranging from wind turbines to sustainable buildings. We are already implementing several steel decarbonisation projects across the EU. However, the right conditions need to be in place to support the transition whilst facing fierce, and often unfair, global competition that jeopardizes both the sector’s viability and the success of the EU twin transition”.


Source: Eurofer

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