From left, the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty in France, Bruno Le Maire, Germany s Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck and Italy s Economy Minister Adolfo Urso, attend a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 26, 2023. AP
"Better diversification of our raw material supply is economic security," German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement.
The European Union member states would set up a working group to discuss "the extraction, processing and recycling" of critical raw materials, Habeck said.
"We need to help our industries secure access to the raw materials they need to make a success of the digital and ecological transition," French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire also said in a statement.
The forum between the three largest economies in the EU would be used to "exchange information on our level of dependence, on the direction of our procurement, the securing of strategic stocks", Le Maire said in a press conference in Berlin alongside Habeck and their Italian counterpart Adolfo Urso.
The European Commission in March put forward proposals to secure supplies of materials, such as lithium or nickel, needed for the production of key technologies like batteries or solar panels.
Le Maire welcomed the Commission's proposal as a "first step", saying the cooperation between the three countries was an opportunity to "go further".
The EU's proposal will notably encourage the establishment of raw material mining and extraction projects in Europe.
France has already created a 500-million-euro ($545-million) fund for investments in critical raw material projects, while Rome was also making one billion euros available for a similar plan.
Habeck evoked the possibility of establishing a similar fund in Germany, although there was "not yet an agreement" between the ministries on the idea.