With the global demand for critical raw materials (CRMs) on the rise, it’s crucial to seek globally sustainable and fair solutions. European countries are highly dependent on resources and economies of the Global South. Therefore, the EU Commission is currently expanding strategic partnerships in order to secure access to CRMs for the defence sector and to support energy and digital transitions. This panel discussion will explore the significance and shortcomings of such partnerships and trade relations, and discuss if environmental protection and respecting the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples from the third countries can be maintained by this approach. Moreover, we will discuss if it is possible to build mutually beneficial international partnerships, taking into account the impacts that the European resource policy may have caused in the past. These requirements encompass aspects like local value addition, technology transfer, finance and respect of human rights and environmental laws.