Last 10 November the European Commission unveiled its ‘trade policy‘ for the next 5 years as a component of the EU’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.
It also raises the crucial question of the access and trade of raw materials, underlining that some non-EU countries develop policies to create supply bottlenecks…it was high time the EU noticed that:). In reaction the EU will show its muscles and punish those countries not playing by the rules (read an analysis here) which in concrete terms means a new form of colonialism and protectionism…So the EU is unfortunately not smarter than the other big players (USA, China, Japan…) in this worrying game: old habits are back on stage. When things become scarce, instead of looking for innovative and smart solutions which especially means collaborative approaches among all stakeholders to find sustainable solutions, the self interest of each ones takes over…There are plenty of examples throughout history of wars which were caused by crunches in supply of crucial materials (food, wood…).
The fundamental question now is if we will be able to face the forthcoming supply crunches (fossil fuels, rare metals…) by peaceful negotiations (raw materials diplomacy?)and a form of worldwide governance or if war is around the corner…
The next step at EU level is the planned adoption of a Communication on raw materials in December 2010.