The European Parliament has adopted a set of comprehensive and ambitious rules on sustainability, safety, labelling and information on batteries.
The future of batteries in Europe must be socially and environmentally sustainable. Now the ball is in the Council’s court to match our ambition and finalise its position in order for the new Batteries Regulation to be swiftly negotiated and put into place.
The rapporteur and S&D vice-president, Simona Bonafè, commented: “We use batteries every day in our daily lives to communicate, to move or to store renewable energy. However, we need sustainable batteries for the environment, as well as for human rights.
“For the first time, we have put in place new rules that will cover the full life cycle of batteries, from design and production to reuse and recycling.
“As Progressives, we are proud of having achieved three crucial objectives: the strengthening of sustainability through common rules concerning products, processes, waste batteries and recyclates; the promotion of a circular economy; and the reduction of environmental and social impacts throughout all stages of a battery’s life cycle.”
“We also managed to extend the compulsory due diligence requirements to the whole value chain of all types of batteries so that we prevent the exploitation of the environment and labour forces.
“This is the future we want where batteries will enlighten a more efficient, fair and sustainable world.”
S&D coordinator in the environment committee, Tiemo Wölken, said: “The review of this regulation is of immense importance for the acceptance and the functioning of electro mobility: We are witnessing exponential growth in battery electric vehicles, therefore swift progress is needed to enhance the sustainability of sourcing and to boost the circularity.
“But also for other batteries, this is highly relevant. Currently, the Directive’s overall objective to achieve a high level of material recovery is not being met. This problem will only increase, if you think of city scooters for example, if we don’t address it now.
“Finally, the obligation to establish due diligence policies and circularity will enhance the entire value chain and the strategic autonomy of European industries.”
The new regulation on batteries could make the cost of production of batteries, including batteries for electric vehicles, more expensive, according to the ECR Group.
The European Conservatives and Reformists had insisted on amendments, which were however rejected by the majority, that the affordability of batteries for end users should also be taken into consideration.
Speaking after the announcement of results, ECR Shadow Rapporteur Alexandr Vondra said:
“The new regulation comes with a myriad of new rules. This will already be highly problematic in the near future as the demand of batteries will increase exponentially, especially in the transport sector. The logic behind this is does the math without considering the circumstances of ordinary consumers.
“I would have liked to see more flexibility from the European Parliament here. Especially now, as the price of fossil fuels will continue to rise, the price and availability of batteries is a key factor in ending our dependency on forms of energy that make Europe vulnerable to blackmail from supplier countries like Russia.”
Besides that, Vondra is also of the opinion that the proposed text, due to the numerous possibilities for the Commission to adopt implementing and delegated acts, undermines legal certainty. “Especially in a market where a lot of innovation is needed legal certainty crucial”, he said.
For Vondra, the extension of due diligence provisions to the entire value chain is another problematic point. “It would be desirable if we could trace the batteries from the extraction of the raw material made to use them to their recycling. But unfortunately we are not there yet. The EU is fooling itself here. This regulation is definitely coming at the wrong time on several levels.”