The European Union wants to succeed in guaranteeing its independence on rare metals.

These precious resources are necessary for new technologies such as smartphones, but they are, for the moment, very largely imported from other countries such as China or Chile.

The innovations of tomorrow require rare metals.

These strategic raw materials such as lithium, germanium or borate are already present in many everyday objects such as smartphones.

However, the European Union is not autonomous in this area and must therefore import a lot.

Brussels therefore calls for general mobilization.

Reduce European dependence

The 17 metals called rare earths, used for solar and wind power as well as in electronic chips, come 98% from China.

Lithium, an essential component of electric batteries, is mainly imported from Chile.

And the needs could be multiplied by more than 50 within 30 years.

Also, reducing the dependence of European industry on the rest of the world has become a priority.

The strategy presented by European Commissioner Thierry Breton therefore goes in this direction. 

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On the desk of the Commissioner for the Internal Market, the map of Europe is covered with small symbols indicating the deposits of these critical raw materials.

For lithium, "we have identified fairly significant resources around the Rhine Valley. We have the capacity within four to five years to be almost self-sufficient," explains Thierry Breton.

We must now find ways to extract them while respecting the environment.

If they are complicated to extract, they can be recycled well.

Member states' recovery plans must now be used to finance all of this.