Critical raw materials

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HREEs

LREEs

Germanium

Borate

Strontium

Natural Graphite

Bauxite

Indium

Lithium

Coking coal

Flourspar

Baryte

Gallium

Hafnium

Tantalum

Silicon

Phosphate rock

Natural rubber

Titanium

Vanadium

Antimony

Bismuth

Berylium

PGMs

Cobalt

Tungsten

Scandium

Phosphorous

Niobium

Magnesium

Supply risk

Economic importance

Research

Artworks

Exhibitions

Critical Raw Materials

Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are raw materials deemed economically and strategically important for the economy of the European Union (or any country with a similar policy to this effect), and have a high-risk associated with their supply. Criticality is not derived from scarcity, but rather through the covalence between significant economic importance, high-supply risk and the lack of lack of feasible substitutes.

Drago

Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands dragon tree or drago, is a subtropical tree. It is native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira, and western Morocco as well as to much of the scenes of the classical imaginary of the Hesperides Garden. It was revered by local peasants and its blooming fearfully observed for its forecast: "[i]f the tree flourished on the north side, the year was rainy in the highlands; if on the south, drought was to be expected. And woe to our fields when the dragon trees did not bloom! An observer noted that in 1851 all dragon trees bloomed in August - followed by the most dreadful drought on the island. However, the following winter rains were copious, which covered the coastal areas and the midlands with the greenest fields." 1


  1. Rodríguez, L (1947). Los Arboles Históricos y Tradicionales de Canarias. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: La Prensa, pp. 105-6. 

EURAFRICA

Eurafrica was (and still is) an intellectual and geo-political vehicle by which the ultimate success of the European integration project (i.e., ECSC, EEC, or the EU) was made contingent upon access to resources from the African continent. As Peo Hansen and Stefan Jonsson explain, the Eurafrican project “consolidated colonial inequality in the mid-twentieth century and perpetuated it into the contemporary world order”.1 It was conceived and articulated in the interwar period by the likes of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi or Paolo D’Agostino Orsini di Camerota among others.2 After WWII, Eurafrica became most intimately coupled with France’s efforts to integrate its own colonial empire into the European political sphere.


  1. Hansen, P., & Jonsson, S. (2014). Eurafrica: The untold history of European integration and colonialism. Bloomsbury Publishing. 

  2. Thorpe, B. J. (2018). Eurafrica: A Pan-European Vehicle for Central European Colonialism (1923–1939). European Review, 26(3), 503-513. 

Free Trade Zones

Free Trade Zones, Special Economic Zones, Foreign Trade Zones, Export Oriented zones, or just Free Zones are one of the many dirty secrets of modernity.1 They are enclaves carved out of national territories and granted administrative and/or economic policies found nowhere else in national territories. Used as a weapon to de-industrialise occupied economies, Free Ports transformed territories into underdeveloped peripheries reliant upon resource extraction and tariff-free trade.2 After the Cold War, Free Trade Zones (arguably, resulting from the evolution of Free Ports) became a mandatory recipe and prescription from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to secure bailouts. Labour in this zones is disposable at "any moment, "at any moment or for any reason or hint of a reason."3


  1. Tazzara, C. (2018) 'Capitalism and the Special Economic Zone, 1590-2014', in Fredona, R. and Reinert, S.A. (eds.) New perspectives on the history of political economy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 75-102. 

  2. Easterling, K. (2014) Extrastatecraft: the Power of Infraestructure Space. London and New York: Verso 

  3. Bolaño, R. (2004) 2666. Barcelona: Anagrama. 

Fisheries Partnerships Agreements

Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPA) are bilateral agreements between the EU (which negotiates fishing access on behalf of member states) and third parties. They currently involve financial contributions in exchange for fishing possibilities as well as a contribution to partnership actions such as stock assessments, control monitoring and surveillance activities, which are broadly aligned to the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy.1 In this way, FPAs not only govern access to water resources, they constitute an integral part of contemporary international developmental and human rights agenda.2 FPAs proliferated in anticipation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which saw the establishment of exclusive economic zones (EEZ), severely restricting access to waters 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coast. Importantly also was the stamping by the UNCLOS of the obligation to not leave fisheries unexploited in its article 62, also known as ‘use it or lose it clause’. 3 It is through these agreements that the EU widens its sovereign waters. 4

However, these associations are often undeserving of the term partnership, 1 for as Saiba Bayo and Ernst Krose argue in the context of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), this is an alien word for the EU.5 The majority of FPAs are concluded with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, former colonies of many member states. FPAs rarely include reference to the interests of small-scale fisheries sectors of the signatory country, 5 and constitute the locale for intersecting overfishing with migration. So-called ‘irregular immigration’ into Europe during the 1970s took place on large fishing trawlers.6 Nearly 80% of crews calling for Spanish fishing ports like Vigo are originally from regions in which FPAs have decisively contributed to the collapse of local fisheries like Senegal and/or Mauritania.7 The EU claims that its fishing efforts only target surplus species. In effect, it outsources pelagic exhaustion from the North Sea waters, all the while stock assessments remain to be undertaken (notwithstanding the instrumentality of such calculations for the management of extinction of species such as bluefin tuna).8


  1. Mundt, M. (2012) ‘The Effects of EU Fisheries Partnership Agreements on Fish Stocks and Fishermen: The Case of Cape Verde,’ in Evans, T., Eckhard, H., Hansjörg, H., Kronauer, M., and Mahnkopf, B.(eds.) Institute for International Political Economy Berlin, Working Paper, No. 12/2012.  

  2. Antonova, A.S. (2016) ‘The Rhetoric of “Responsible Fishing”: Notions of Human Rights and Sustainability in the European Union's Bilateral Fishing Agreements with Developing States,’ Marine Policy, 70(1), pp. 77-84.  

  3. Campling, L. and Colás, A. (2021) Capitalism and the Sea: The Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World. London and New York: Verso Books. 

  4. European Commission (2009) ‘Fishing in Wider waters,’ Common Fisheries Policy: An user’s guide, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.  

  5. Bayo, S., and Krose, E. (n.d.) 'Los Acuerdos de Colaboración Económica (EPA) entre la Unión Europea y África: La Cara Oculta del Neocolonialismo y de las Migraciones Africanas hacia Europa.' 

  6. Brent, Z. W., and Thibault J. (2020) ‘Migration and fisheries: exploring the intersections,’ The Transnational Institute, July 1st. 

  7. Van den Bossche, K. and Van Der Burgt, N. (2009) ‘Fisheries Partnership Agreements under the European Common Fisheries Policy: An External Dimension of Sustainable Development?,’ Studia diplomatica, 1(1), pp.103-125.  

  8. Telesca, J.E. (2020) Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,. 

Public-Private Partnerships

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been described by developmental economists as budgetary time bombs.1 Technically, they are long-term contractual arrangements whereby institutional investors and asset managers agree to finance and manage certain public services such as hospitals, highways, energy production plants, housing, or the supply of water and sewage - in so far as state bear the brunt of some or all associated risks.


  1. Samba Sylla, D. & Gabor, D. (2021) "Planting budgetary time bombs in Africa: the Macron Doctrine En Marche," Committe for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt cadtm.org, 14 January [Online].