Brussels, May 22 (TASR-correspondent) – Slovakia supports the EU’s plans to increase its own extraction of valuable raw materials, stated Economy Ministry State Secretary Peter Svec following a session of the EU Competitiveness Council in Brussels on Monday.
The session focused on how to maintain the EU’s long-term competitiveness in the transition to a digital and green, zero-emission economy as well as how to deal with unnecessary textile waste.
The ministers and state secretaries discussed the Net-Zero Industry Act, which aims to increase the Union’s share in the production of emission-neutral technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps, wind farms and hydrogen electrolysers, which are currently mostly produced in China and other Asian countries.
“The act stipulates that at least 40 percent of these technologies must be produced in the EU,” Svec explained.
Directly related to this regulation is a directive on critical raw materials, which are needed for zero-emission energy production. Svec noted that the EU has set a number of policy targets, for example, to ensure that at least 10 percent of the demand for raw materials is met from domestic European sources. However, he said, this requires a balance to be struck between increasing extraction in some countries and the impact of this process on the environment and population.
Svec remarked that Slovakia does not have large oil and gas deposits, but it has access to several types of mineral resources. He stressed that the essence of the directive is that the EU, having learnt from its dependence on energy carriers from Russia, should not be dependent from other countries when it comes to key raw materials either.
“We support this trend of simplifying various permits and resuming the extraction of these types of raw materials. In Slovakia’s case, we are curtailing coal mining, but Slovak mining has an opportunity to resume activities in the extraction of new types of raw materials that could be suitable in the transition to a zero-emission economy,” the secretary said.