The Government of Serbia and the European Commission have signed a letter of intent to initiate a strategic partnership for batteries and critical raw materials including lithium, Serbian media outlet Demostat reported, citing a statement from the European Commission. The news broke a month after the event and caused outrage among environmental activists and locals from areas in Serbia that are affected by lithium exploration. Mining projects are facing opposition even in the EU.
Serbia signed an agreement with the European Commission on a strategic partnership that would involve lithium exploitation. There is strong resistance at home against such activity after more than two years of controversies, but the authorities remained silent about the move.
Activists and locals from the Association of Environmental Organizations of Serbia (SEOS) have been opposing lithium exploration and projects for mining and processing for over two years.
Serbia is transposing EU legislation
Serbia and the European Commission signed a letter of intent on September 22 to initiate a strategic partnership in the areas of batteries and critical materials including lithium, Serbian research and media organization Demostat reported.
The article adds that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) pointed out that Serbia is harmonizing its legislation with the European Union as a candidate for membership. It includes mining projects.
The commission also told the website that it favors the development of processing capacities at the extraction locations. Some independent experts criticize the policy, arguing it is a dirty technology.
Petition against EU’s proposed Critical Raw Materials Act
The proposed Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) aims to accelerate the procedures for mining projects and prioritize the extraction and processing of a group of thirty strategic minerals.
A petition was launched against such policy with the argument that it would lead to a massive expansion of mining in the EU and even more abroad.
Activists claim the bill would lead to a massive expansion of mining in the EU and even more abroad
Activists demanded from the European Parliament and ministers responsible for mining in member states to reject the bill, claiming it violates basic human and environmental rights. The petition was initiated by Salvemos la Montaña from Spain, Não às Minas from Portugal, Marš sa Drine (member of SEOS) from Serbia, OPSAL from Chile and Earth Thrive from the United Kingdom and the Balkans.
The SEOS association is critical of the letter of intent. “Anyone who is silent or just mildly reacting to such issues are accomplices and they are participating in the colonization of Serbia together with the regime. And everyone is indeed silent except for us, local fighters, who have sincere intentions toward this state and and we are fighting not to become Europe’s colony and waste dump,” the environmental activists stressed.