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 reckless mining corporations.
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 Roxana Pencea Brădățan from Mining Watch 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.”