Hundreds of organizations and experts say a hard No to Europe’s raw materials policies

Just days after a public petition gathered over 60,000 signatures against the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), more than 130 organizations and over 100 experts and academics from 30 countries sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen demanding the withdrawal of the CRMA.

Signatories reject the proposed legislation because of its disregard for environmental and human rights, endorsement of social engineering, and failure to address Europe’s obsolete mining regulations and the urgency of reducing demand. If approved, the Act will fast-track permitting procedures, water down environmental laws and set the floor to inject billions of euros into socially and environmentally irresponsible mining corporations.

“The European Parliament and the Commission had the opportunity to meet the needs of local communities with this law and they failed miserably,” says Bojana Novakovic from the movement against lithium mining “Marš sa Drine” in Serbia. “We are tired of begging, pleading and negotiating. The EU has failed us, so we are sending a clear message – withdraw the law or you will see us on the streets and in court.”

The announcement earlier this week of a political agreement between the European Parliament and the European Council to push forward with the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) has brought about an immediate reaction among civil society organizations, local communities as well as experts and academics across the world. Recalling the ongoing political crisis in Portugal and its connection with two lithium mining projects, the letter warns that the regulation will extend the influence of the mining lobby and spread even more corruption due to less regulation. 

It also exposes how EU policymakers have failed to see beyond the Brussels ‘bubble’, disregarding the potentially catastrophic impacts of a new mining boom. Signatories condemn the proposed legislation’s endorsement of ‘social acceptance’ activities aimed at changing public opposition to mining projects into passive tolerance or active support. The letter also exposes 25 projects funded by the EU at a total cost of €181M with deliverables that seek out to build public acceptance for extractive projects.

“It’s simple for us,” says a representant from MiningWatch Romania: “Approval of the CRMA will lead to legal action as the proposed legislation would breach rights of public participation in environmental decision making, enshrined by the Aarhus Convention which the European Union ratified.”

On the situation in Portugal, the founder of MiningWatch Portugal, Nik Völker, adds: “Unfortunately, non-compliance seems to be the norm in Portugal, even in well-documented cases known to the authorities. The Borba tragedy, the tailings from the Panasqueira mine and, since last week, the acid waters in Aljustrel, also testify to a precarious state of the competent authorities. The Brussels ‘bubble’ that envisages permitting in two years seems a long way from our reality of projects that are already half a decade in the process, for example for Lithium in the Barroso area.”

Letter to the Commission:

MiningWatch Portugal
Nik Völker
+351 928 124 846
Fundação Montescola
Joám Evans
+34 622 312 831
Marš sa Drine
Bojana Novakovic

MiningWatch Romania
+40 723 024 300  

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