Transformation to Green Energy: EU Cooperation with Argentina in the Lithium Sector

The EU is strengthening its strategic partnership with Argentina in the lithium sector. This cooperation aims to ensure a green energy future.

As a leading supranational organization in the economic sphere, the European Union is well aware of the need to ensure that there are reserves of raw materials needed for the transition to greener energy and sustainable future technologies. The EU is a supranational organization that cares deeply about the environment, actively introducing Europe’s transition to a low-carbon society, and improving its regulations to facilitate private and public investment in a green energy transition. The EU’s low-carbon transition aims to establish a sustainable energy sector that can fuel growth, innovation and jobs while improving quality of life, strengthening consumer rights and reducing household spending.

Due to the European Union’s commitment to the transition to green energy, the organization has had to look for cooperation partners to solve energy problems and ensure a credible and competitive energy market in Europe. The EU is strengthening its strategic partnership with Argentina in the lithium sector. This cooperation aims to ensure a green energy future. Lithium is a new discovery in the world of green technology and is a scarce component. Based on data from the U.S Department of Energy, lithium is a soft and light metal found in rocks and subsurface fluids of salt water. Lithium is the main component found in cell phone rechargeable batteries, electric cars, electric bicycles, and large amounts of storage batteries. Lithium is an important mineral that is urgently needed in the transition to green and environmentally friendly energy.

In recent years, the global demand for lithium has doubled, and this demand will continue to grow as many countries begin to make the transition to green energy. It is estimated that by 2030, the demand for lithium will increase tenfold. This increase in demand for lithium is in line with the increasing environmentally friendly automotive industry in every country.

The EU’s cooperation with Argentina in the lithium sector began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the two countries on June 13, 2023. The MoU calls for greater cooperation in green infrastructure as well as new research into raw materials such as lithium and ultra-light battery metals for electric vehicles, which all governments around the world are working to secure supplies of. Argentina has the world’s third-largest lithium reserves, with an estimated lithium supply of 17 million tons, and the country’s lithium reserves appear to be constant and proactive. Argentina’s lithium reserves are located in the salt flats and use evaporation methods to extract the high-demand material. Salar del Hombre Muerto is the most famous lithium-producing salt flat in Argentina.

The EU’s cooperation with Argentina in the lithium sector is very important, as lithium is one of the critical raw materials listed by the EU under the Critical Raw Materials Act. Lithium is becoming a major component of replacing fossil fuels, and shifting to greener energy. Lithium became a raw material needed by the European Union after their industry experienced challenges amidst the energy crisis conditions due to the conflict that occurred in Ukraine. The EU needs lithium supplies to produce large quantities of batteries, which will be used for electric vehicles and energy storage systems under the EU’s energy transition plan, which has a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. Through this cooperation, the EU wants to ensure a secure supply of and access to lithium, enhance the positive relationship between them, and support the energy transition and mobility of a greener future.

Analyze the interests of the European Union and Argentina in cooperating with each other from an international relations perspective.

According to the realist perspective, the international system is anarchy and states are the main actors acting on their national interests and security. Realism also states that national interests are not absolute and can change at any time depending on the situation of the international system. National interest for realism can be the basis of a country’s foreign policy. In the context of lithium cooperation, the European Union cooperates with Argentina as a step to find new energy sources amid the energy crisis caused by the impact of the conflict in Ukraine. Furthermore, through this cooperation, the European Union also seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil resources and switch to environmentally friendly green energy sources. This is part of the EU’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. Not only that, through this cooperation, the European Union also seeks to secure the supply and safe access to lithium for raw materials for green energy technology.

Meanwhile, from Argentina’s perspective, the cooperation with the EU is a new step to increase the country’s exports. As one of the countries with the largest lithium supply, this will certainly open up opportunities for Argentina to not only cooperate with the European Union, but also with other countries. Investment opportunities with other countries will certainly be wide open. Especially if later all countries in the world begin to switch to the use of green energy, of course, lithium owned by Argentina will become a commodity that is glimpsed by the international community as a fossil replacement resource, and with this, Argentina’s export value will certainly increase. Not only that, through cooperation with the European Union, Argentina can certainly strengthen its existence in the international world.

So, it can be concluded that the transformation towards green energy is the main goal that the European Union wants to achieve, various cooperation agendas are carried out to achieve this goal, one of which is by cooperating with Argentina in the lithium sector. The cooperation between the European Union and Argentina in the lithium sector is a mutually beneficial cooperation for both parties. When viewed from the European Union’s side, through this cooperation the European Union has succeeded in carrying out its commitment to shift from the use of fossil energy to environmentally friendly green energy. Meanwhile, from the perspective of Argentina itself, this cooperation will certainly open up investment opportunities for Argentina. Through this cooperation, the lithium sector owned by Argentina will be increasingly recognized by the world, and if later all countries begin to switch to using green energy, of course Argentina’s lithium will become a commodity that is ogled by countries that need environmentally friendly energy sources. Furthermore, this will also increase the export value of Argentina itself and boost the country’s economic growth.

Fariza Khairani
Fariza Khairani
Fariza Khairani is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in International Relations at Andalas University, Indonesia. Fariza is interested in global society issues, SDGs, and foreign policy.