According to experts, Germany and the EU must do significantly more to ensure a reliable supply of computer chips, raw materials, medicines and other critical products to Europe and to support companies in diversifying their supply chains. This is the conclusion reached in a report from the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics, which was previously available to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In the study, the scientists advocate, among other things, the establishment of a European Office for Security of Supply that collects all the necessary information, provides timely warnings of impending problems, organizes stress tests and supports companies.
In recent years, the EU economy has had to digest several shocks that led to delivery bottlenecks and paralyzed production – from the corona pandemic to disrupted sea routes to political sanctions and counter-sanctions. States like China are increasingly using economic dependencies as a political weapon, which is why Europeans are trying to become less tied to individual suppliers, especially when it comes to critical products.
There were just two supplying countries for uranium ore
According to the report, there were 779 products in Germany that were imported from a maximum of three different supplying countries. These included important industrial raw materials such as lead, thallium, barium, beryllium, lithium and platinum. For uranium ore, there were just two supplying countries, including Russia, and for special substances important to the pharmaceutical industry, such as anthraquinone or fenproporex, there were a maximum of three. The same applied to highly specialized goods such as telecommunications satellites and refrigerated ships.
The new authority will be responsible for coordinating activities in all of these areas in the future. In addition, the experts suggest that in the future the focus of importing and exporting companies should be directed more towards countries on which Europe is not yet significantly dependent, using customs duties, government credit insurance and investment protection agreements. If the import of critical goods cannot be diversified in individual cases, the scientists also believe that subsidies for setting up your own production facilities within the EU make sense.