On 12 March, the Commission held the 5th Ministerial Meeting under the European Battery Alliance. Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioners Thierry Breton, Nicolas Schmit and Elisa Ferreira, as well as the European Investment Bank Vice-Presidents Ambroise Fayolle and Thomas Östros attended the event alongside ministers from 14 EU member states with significant investments in the battery value chain.
The meeting was called to discuss the progress achieved since the last ministerial meeting in 2019 and identify the most pressing priorities, such as the supply of raw and active materials in the EU, and access to skilled workers. Participants reconfirmed their full commitment to the work under the European Battery Alliance and joint efforts in building an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive battery value chain in Europe. They also agreed on a number of actions including, among others: to strive for the adoption of the proposed Batteries Regulation by 2022; to launch a roundtable on sustainable raw materials mining; to publish a set of EU principles guiding industrial action in the raw materials segment; and to create a dedicated collaborative Platform to help EU regions address the battery skills gap through the Just Transition Fund.
The Commission also encouraged the member states to integrate battery projects into their national recovery and resilience plans. Since the launch of the European Battery Alliance in October 2017, the European Union has seen some 70 industrial projects emerging and record-high levels of investment. In particular, the Commission approved two Important Projects of Common European Interest on Batteries, in January this year and in December 2019, involving 59 enterprises from 12 Member States and representing an expected value of around €20 billion in private and public investment combined. In December 2019, the Commission also proposed a new Batteries Regulation centered around sustainability and circularity. The work of the European Battery Alliance is underpinned by the Commission’s Strategic Action Plan on Batteries, which contains a wide range of measures to support all aspects of the value chain.