The primary focus of the recent Communication by the European Commission (EC) lies in the need for more effective spending of defence and security budgets to mitigate the significant cuts in funding faced by European countries. The EC emphasised that Europe must make serious investments in innovation for its defence and security sectors in order to strengthen its competitiveness in a large global market.
However, the Communication also highlighted the negative impact that Europe’s reliance on critical raw material (CRM) imports, as well as the effect that supply chain disruptions due to geopolitical instabilities has on hindering its ability to be self reliant and innovative within the security and defence sectors.
CRMs are crucial in the design of security technologies such as Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), precision guided munitions and satellite communications. Therefore, developing alternative materials will be imperative to maintaining, but more crucially developing European security and defence sectors in order for them to remain competitive.
The Communication stated that the current list 14 of critical raw materials compiled by the EU is due to be revised this year, but it also emphasised that “there would be a clear value-added if this work would take into account the specific importance of raw materials to Europe’s defence sector”.
View the full Communication here.