The European Parliament is pushing the European Union (EU) to increase investment in the recycling sector, to increase the supply of materials to European manufacturers faced with potential global shortages.
With emerging market countries such as China and India gobbling up vast proportions of materials as they rapidly industrialise, MEPs fear European manufacturers will increasingly suffer from input shortages and high prices.
In a detailed formal motion for the European Commission, the parliament wants Brussels to promote investment in research and development in technologies for the recycling of raw materials and the efficient and economic use of raw materials in Europe. And it called on the Commission and EU member states to give more weight to this objective in their research activities: both have large research budgets; the EUs Seventh Framework Programme has €52 billion to spend from 2007 to 2013, for instance.
Meanwhile, the motion has also pushed the Commission to make materials imports a priority within the World Trade Organisations (WTO) Doha Development Round, which could end this year.
It suggests Brussels pursue actively the objective of multilateral elimination of trade distorting measures in the sector of raw materials to protect recyclers customers against potentially business-threatening input problems. Here, MEPs are especially targeting bilateral deals between supplier countries and growing economic powers such as China, which funnel materials away from Europe.
The motion noted that since 2002 prices for non-fuel commodities have risen 159%; and metal and mineral prices 285%, causing a lack of economic growth in the European Union.