On the sidelines of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Alikhan Smailov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, signed a MoU to develop renewable hydrogen and battery value chains. The objective is to boost the green and digital transformation of both sides’ economies. The agreement is also aimed at ensuring development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials and refined materials.
Ursula von der Leyen said on the occasion, “This partnership with Kazakhstan shows Europe’s commitment to work with partner countries on our shared commitments to a greener and more resilient future in line with the Global Gateway Strategy and the objectives of the REPowerEU Plan.”
The official statement by EU held that the partnership is centred on three areas of collaboration. First there will be a, closer economic and industrial integration in the strategic value chains of raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen. The parties will identify joint projects throughout the respective value chains including recycling and attracting private investment.
Second, the two would like to increase the resilience of raw material, battery and renewable hydrogen supply chains. Third, there will be a closer bilateral cooperation on capacity-building, skills and research & innovation on topics.
The EU and Kazakhstan have committed to develop a Roadmap for 2023-2024, with concrete joint actions agreed within six months. These actions are to be carried out in close cooperation with relevant industrial and financial stakeholders from the EU Member States and Kazakhstan.
EU held that raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen value chains are critical to the green and digital transitions. Critical Raw Materials are essential for the deployment of technologies like wind turbines (with rare earth magnets); batteries (lithium and cobalt) and semiconductors (polysilicon). Similarly, batteries are crucial to the regions’ energy transition and shift to zero-emissions transport, while renewable hydrogen technology supports the decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors and energy intensive industries.
In order to secure a sustainable supply of the critical raw materials the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials is being executed under which the European Commission has already started working to build partnerships with resource-rich third countries.
The European Commission has already adopted two strategic partnerships on raw materials with Canada and Ukraine last year.
The move is also being evaluated in the wake of growing Chinese dominance for raw material in the resource rich countries and the Russia-Ukraine war threatening global energy supply chain.