The EESC has carried out extensive work in the past years on topics linked to mining and raw materials. With the publication in September 2020 of the Commission's Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, and building on the past experience, the EESC has been carrying out activity on this issue that included its opinion CCMI 177, several follow up meetings (including cooperation in the framework of the European Parliament's own initiative report on the subject), a webinar, several press and public publications and the participation of the EESC in the European Raw Materials Alliance as observer.
In addition, the issue of critical raw materials is topical and gaining momentum. The European Parliament has adopted its report on this topic on 23 November 2021. The Updated industrial strategy as well as the Commission's 2021 Strategic Foresight Report both put a strong spotlight on the importance of critical raw materials to achieve strategic autonomy for EU industry and society. Also, the European Raw Materials Alliance will be launching new clusters of activity in 2022. In short, there is high need for the public discourse to continue and for civil society to continue its involvement on the subject.
Building on previous activity, this conference will specifically zoom in on two aspects: 1) Securing EU's open strategic autonomy: the role of critical raw materials in EU industry's green and digital transition calls for solutions to secure supply and ensure resilience 2) The importance of circularity and of creating a market for secondary raw materials in Europe to secure EU's resilience.