Political initiatives related to natural resources

Raw Materials Initiative

In 2008 the European Commission launched its first communication on raw materials – The Raw materials Initiative (RMI).  The principal aim of this initiative is to assure access of European industry to raw materials.  The European Commission argues that the main obstacle for access are the increased restrictions imposed by some countries on export by quotas and/or taxes to protect there own industry. Therefore the EC insists on the need of the elimination of all export restrictions. The initiative also stresses the importance of decreasing the dependency of Europe on the import of RM by promoting recycling and substitution.  In 2011 the European Commission published a second communication on the Raw Materials Initiative,  taken into account some of the observations that had been made on its policy proposal  of 2008.

More documents of the EC related to the Raw Materials Initiative:


The European Raw Materials Initiative has to be seen as a major policy tool of the European Union in relation to the governance of natural sources worldwide.  It has a significant influence on European trade and investment policies, on European Resource Efficiency and on several other policies related to the access and use of the natural resources and fiscal incomes generated by extractive industries like transparency, and social and environmental impacts.

Concerned about some considerable negative impacts the implementation of the European RMI could have on development opportunities and the governance of natural resources in the South, several  European NGO’s engaged in the publication of critical reports on the RMI with recommendations related to more coherence between the RMI and European development policy.

After the launch of the second communication in February 2011, European Parliament started drafting an own report on Raw Materials which was finished and approved in June 2011.  This is a very interesting report on how the European Union can assure the provision of raw materials and at the same time contribute to better governance of natural resources and sustainable development in the South.  Most of the critics and suggestions of the NGO’s related to the Raw Materials Initiative of the European Commission have been integrated in this report.  The report offers interesting views and concrete proposals for reshaping of redefining European policies related to the use of raw materials, to diminish its dependency on imports and to be coherent with European Development Policy.