EU FDI and sustainable development: Mineral raw material extraction by EU mining companies in developing countries

As laid down in the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union has a legal obligation to promote sustainable development and the sustainable management of natural resources in developing countries. However, since the EU is relatively poor in terms of certain essential mineral raw materials, it also has a significant commercial interest in creating access to such materials for its extractive industry active in developing countries through the creation of a favourable FDI framework. The main assertion made in the thesis is that the particularities of the extractive industry in developing countries necessitate the EU to include sustainability criteria in its FDI framework aimed at regulating EU mining companies active in these countries, in order to accommodate sustainable development there. Recent developments on the global market for mineral raw materials seem to hinder these endeavours, while they might be needed here more than anywhere else.

Steffen van der Velde’s research explores the principles and objectives of the EU’s FDI framework, and the extent to which the EU ensures that EU mining companies, active in the extraction of mineral raw material in developing countries, contribute to their sustainable development.