Vítor Correia – Diplomacy vs. military force: who will win?

International Raw Materials Observatory

Rue Vautier, 54. 1050 Brussels


The EU recently launched the European Raw Material Alliance, a partnership between industry players, EU countries and regions, trade unions, civil society, research and technology organisations, investors and NGOs to (quote) reduce Europe’s dependency on third countries, diversifying supply from both primary and secondary sources and improving resource efficiency and circularity while promoting responsible sourcing worldwide.

This signals an evident concern from policymakers on the European industry dependency on raw materials imports from third countries. There are two good reasons for this concern: 1) delivering the European Green Deal would require vast quantities of mineral raw materials; and 2) resources nationalism is rising (even inside the EU), alongside the international rivalry to securing access to mineral raw materials. However, the established and rising powers (USA, China) are competing for raw materials in many places, using a combination of military and financial power to play in the economic chessboard.

The big question, in this context, is if the EU “soft power” approach, applying the principles of cooperation, inclusiveness, transparency and respect of trade and competition rules, would be sufficient to meet the European demand for mineral raw materials? Or would Europe be overtaken by realpolitik, driven by China and the US?


Vitor is Secretary-General of the International Raw Materials Observatory and Past-President of the European Federation of Geologists. He founded and managed several companies working in geosciences, and he has over 25 years of experience in strategic management, innovation and organizational effectiveness. He began his career as a mining geologist, and he worked in mineral exploration, geological engineering and environmental geology in Europe, Africa and South America. Vitor holds a MSc in Geology and an MBA, both from the University of Lisbon. He is registered as a EuroGeol.