The current COVID-19 pandemic has already by now caused profound effects at global macroeconomic scale. In the automotive sector, for example, car manufacturers have announced a stop of production during the last weeks and just now start to gradually ramp up again. Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers and other market actors further upstream are similarly affected by this demand side shock and have consequently ramped down their production as well. In addition to these demand side shocks, supply chain steps located in countries strongly affected by the virus are hampered, too, leading to the breaking of entire international supply chains. This makes more clear than ever before that the security of the supply of strategic raw materials needed for the long-term competitiveness and job security of key industries is of prime importance for the European Union.

EIT RawMaterials, funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), has the vision to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe. It is the world’s largest network in the raw materials sector connecting industry, research and education. This makes EIT RawMaterials a key contributor to secure sustainable access and supply of raw materials – for a green, digital and competitive Europe after COVID-19.

European strategies to exit the COVID-19 crisis

To exit the COVID-19 crisis into an economically sound scenario, Europe not only has to tackle the supply side challenges as shown for the example of REEs, but also demand for sustainable end and intermediate products. National governments and the European Commission are taking serious measures to fuel the European economy again and restart the power engine of our welfare.

Europe is home to world-market leaders in the metals and minerals sector and leaders of excellence in innovation and education. EIT RawMaterials was established to address this type of challenges and has the credentials, drive and expertise to lead the establishment of new, post-COVID-19 supply chains. Solutions include, for example, R&D to make available both primary and secondary sourcescircularity through industrial symbiosis and closing material loops as well as access to financing for critical value chain steps.

Raw materials are vital for the EU economy, the green transition and a successful exit from COVID-19 – EIT RawMaterials will fully support this.