In a decisive session that unfolded today, MEPs cast their votes on a series of crucial amendments, shaping the path for the EU’s strategy concerning Critical Raw Materials (CRMs). While there were triumphs, notably the approval of the vital FPIC Amendment 11, the results of the vote bring a mix of happiness and disappointment for those pushing for a fair and green approach to raw materials.
The passing of Amendment 11 stands as the day’s highlight, paving the way for a firmer inclusion of FPIC principles in the CRMA, a beacon for protecting the rights of Indigenous people in the planning of important projects. With this, mining, refining, and recycling projects that want to be recognised as strategic — which means they can get faster permits and more funding — would be evaluated based on whether they give communities impacted by their operations the right to give or withhold consent for projects.
Yet, the celebration is tempered with the missed opportunity to strengthen FPIC in certification schemes (AM23) and expand Indigenous people’s rights in the CRMA (AM18). Nevertheless, the ground has been set for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Indigenous communities to exert influence, urging for projects not to be classified as strategic unjustly.
However, discontent brews with the approval of Amendment 4, which introduced elements contrary to the long-nurtured visions of a green and just transition. Disappointment also comes with the rejection of Amendment 9, a crucial pillar that stood against overriding public interests, now leaving the environment and public welfare in a precarious balance.
Reflecting on this, Robin Roels, Associate Policy Officer for Raw Materials at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) remarked:
“Today marked a series of steps forward, yet, undeniably, a few backward as well. We find joy in the acknowledgment and integration of FPIC principles into the CRMA for strategic projects; a hard-fought victory that promises a horizon more respectful and inclusive of Indigenous voices. But our journey is far from over, we hoped for a broader reach, encompassing certification schemes and safeguarding public interests. The path is laid with opportunities and hurdles; we remain vigilant and committed to steering it towards a future grounded in justice, inclusivity, and respect for our environment.”
A Call to Resilience
As the EU moves forward with the complex CRMA process, the EEB urges decision-makers to stay focused on the main goal: help achieve a societal transformation that ensures an equitable existence within planetary boundaries
We are at a crossroads, with the opportunity to build a society that respects everyone’s rights while protecting our environment. The aspirations are high, yet within reach, as we continue to foster a culture grounded in global justice and environmental integrity, striving for a harmonious coexistence that is not just a vision, but a reality sustained through concerted, relentless efforts.
Looking ahead, we must use today’s successes as a starting point, not a peak.
Notes to editors
Read our position paper for a full overview of our main demands in regard to the Critical Raw Materials Act