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17 Sep 2023

Balkan Green Energy News

EU: Parliament adopts position on Critical Raw Materials Act; activists criticise insufficient involvement of civil society & respect for rights of local communities

"Activists slam EU after vote on Critical Raw Materials Act", 17 Sep 2023

“The EU Commission is on a mining bonanza! It wants to give way to big, industrial mining across Europe and beyond,” environmental organizations said after the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA).

The law proposal was put forth by the European Commission, with the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (relevant ministers from member states) expected to reach a consensus by the end of the year. Environmental organizations previously claimed CRMA would enable the violation of environmental and human rights...

The speed at which the law is progressing and the insufficient involvement of civil society in decision-making are causing concerns among environmental organizations. The vote was only recently scheduled the vote for the current week. It was originally planned for October, so the activists said they weren’t given enough time to prepare, arguing that it hindered adequate public consultation.

The proposal aims to expedite permitting for mining projects and limits public participation and the right to a fair trial, the announcement reads. It includes the possibility of rapid expropriation of property in local communities that are in the path of mining operations, as strategic importance could be declared, according to the organizations...

The signatories emphasized that the rights of residents, indigenous peoples, and nature are essential for a just energy transition. Furthermore, they pointed out the proposal doesn’t include a ban on mining in protected areas including Natura 2000 areas, the deep sea, and the Arctic.

The organizations added that in the coming months, they would carefully consider all legal options to prevent the proposal from being adopted...

After this year’s revision, the EU has 34 critical raw materials listed as essential for the transition to sustainable energy, designating 16 of them as strategic. The European Commission can also add new materials to the list if deemed necessary, the activists said...