Securing essential imports for the EU - through current EU trade and related policies

  • This opinion will examine what contingency plans and other related policies the EU has in place to ensure sufficient access to and continuing security of supply of essential imports to the EU, especially in a time of crisis, bearing in mind that main responsibility for this will often lie in the private sector. Essential imports include energy, raw materials (from copper to rare earths), water and certain foodstuffs (e.g. cocoa, animal feed), but as energy and food security have already been widely looked at by the Committee in recent times, this opinion would in particular concentrate on minerals and raw materials. Crises could occur either as a result of political/military developments, or arise due to natural disasters or to climate change.
  • The opinion will be making recommendations where weaknesses become apparent. Since the EESC proposed this opinion the European Commission has also announced a public hearing on potential EU initiative for responsible sourcing of minerals coming from conflict-affected and high-risk areas – war zones, post-war zones, and areas vulnerable to political instability or civil unrest. The opinion on essential imports could include the EESC contribution to this initiative.