After the devastating impact of two world wars and centuries of conflict, leading European nations signed the 100-article agreement on April 18, 1951, creating the "European Coal and Steel Union" with the goal of promoting permanent peace and stability. It would have been beyond their imagination that this initial step would eventually evolve into the ambitious project of the "European Union" (EU), closely monitored by the entire world.
Over the past 70 years, significant strides have been made in transforming Europe into a shared marketplace for sustainable development, including coal, steel, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Türkiye has also been an integral part of this project since 1963.
During that era, in order to harness the abundant underground resources spanning a large part of the European continent for peaceful purposes, and to establish a dependable shared supply system between European countries, numerous measures were taken to further bolster this process, including the adoption of a common currency. Türkiye has been an integral part of this long-term regional economic and political cooperation initiative alongside EU member states, having been a signatory to the customs union agreement for a considerable period of time. This agreement has resulted in almost half of Türkiye's exports being directed toward Europe.
In the 21st century, the EU continues to extend this economic and political unity to critical areas such as the environment, climate, sustainable development, energy transformation and digitalization.
However, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which counts many EU member states among its members and where the EU is represented in the council, is a forum for critical discussions about the future of the planet. Among the topics that have come to the fore is the possibility of establishing an “international commodity union” between the world's leading countries and across different continents. The purpose of such a union would be to ensure the equitable sharing of rare metals, rare earth elements, minerals and other critical commodities that are essential for the advancement of high technology and critical to achieving goals such as green transformation, energy transformation and digital transformation.
If an international commodity union is established for the fair sharing of critical commodities, countries may be able to progress collaboratively with the implementation of environmentally friendly technologies to extract and utilize rare metals and minerals. This could potentially occur in untouched areas of the planet, such as the poles, depths of oceans and continental areas that have not yet undergone adequate development.
Is it feasible to establish an international raw material and intermediate product cooperation opportunity among competitive countries, in the name of “conscious capitalism,” in the world economy? This question has emerged due to the necessity of protecting the earth and ensuring that the temperature increase does not surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) for a sustainable natural life. To achieve this, it is crucial to increase the production of underground resources required for high-tech smart systems and smart devices necessary for green, energy and digital transformation.
The establishment of a prospective commodity union would entail the implementation of a set of international regulations accepted by all leading countries of the world, which outline the most effective and efficient use of rare metals, elements and underground resources for the global economy.
This concept may seem utopian today. However, future global conditions will likely require greater cooperation among leading economies, even if they are in competition, to achieve these objectives.