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Procedure : 2006/0206(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0227/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0227/2007

Debates :

PV 19/06/2007 - 19
CRE 19/06/2007 - 19

Votes :

PV 20/06/2007 - 5.2
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0267

Texts adopted
PDF 331kWORD 64k
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 - Strasbourg
The banning of exports and the safe storage of metallic mercury ***I
P6_TA(2007)0267A6-0227/2007
Resolution
 Consolidated text

European Parliament legislative resolution of 20 June 2007 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the banning of exports and the safe storage of metallic mercury (COM(2006)0636 – C6-0363/2006 – 2006/0206(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2006)0636)(1),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Articles 133 and 175(1) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0363/2006),

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–   having regard to Rules 51 and 35 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A6-0227/2007),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

(1) OJ C ... / Not yet published in OJ.


Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 20 June 2007 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No ... /2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the banning of exports and the safe storage of metallic mercury, cinnabar ore, calomel, mercury compounds and certain mercury-containing products
P6_TC1-COD(2006)0206

(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 175(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3),

Whereas:

(1)  Mercury releases are recognised as a global threat that warrants action at local, national, regional and global level.

(2)  In accordance with the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council "Community Strategy Concerning Mercury"(4), and with the European Parliament's resolution of 14 March 2006(5) on that strategy, it is necessary to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury for humans and the environment.

(3)  Measures taken at Community level must be seen as part of a global effort to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury, in particular in the framework of the Mercury Programme under the United Nations Environment Programme.

(4)  Mercury is not yet subject to binding restrictions under multilateral environmental agreements, with the exception of the 1998 Protocol on Heavy Metals to the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

(5)  The European Parliament and the Council recognised the environmental and social problems arising from the closure of the mercury mines in the district of Almadén (Spain) and considered it advisable to adopt adequate compensation measures in order to allow the area affected to find viable solutions for the local environment, employment and economic activity. Furthermore, in its abovementioned resolution, the European Parliament took the view that the mines in Almadén would be a good site for the safe storage of metallic mercury.

(6)  The export of metallic mercury, cinnabar ore, calomel and mercury compounds from the Community should be banned in order to significantly reduce the global mercury supply. Member States should have the right to impose broader and more stringent bans in accordance with Article 176 of the Treaty.

(7)  For the same reason, the export of mercury-containing products already, or about to be, prohibited from being placed on the market in the European Union should also be banned. The Commission should draw up a consolidated list of the products covered which should be updated annually, on the basis of developments in Community legislation.

(8)  The import of metallic mercury, cinnabar ore, calomel and mercury compounds should be banned in order to ensure better protection for human health and the environment in the European Union.

(9)  The export ban will result in considerable amounts of surplus mercury in the Community that should be prevented from re-entering the market. Therefore the safe storage within the Community of this mercury should be ensured.

(10)  Member States should periodically submit information to the Commission on the metallic mercury, cinnabar ore and mercury compounds entering or leaving or traded cross-border within their territory, in order to enable the effectiveness of the instrument to be assessed in due time. All such information should be readily available to the public.

(11)  PARCOM (Paris Commission for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources) Decision 90/3 agreed to the objective of phasing out mercury cell chlor-alkali plants completely by 2010. In order to provide for possibilities of safe temporary storage of mercury no longer used in the chlor-alkali industry, it is appropriate to derogate from point (a) of Article 5(3) of Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste(6) for certain types of landfill, and to declare the criteria of section 2.4 of the Annex to Council Decision 2003/33/EC of 19 December 2002 establishing criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills pursuant to Article 16 of and Annex II to Directive 1999/31/EC(7) inapplicable for above-ground, retrievable storage.

(12)  In order to ensure temporary storage that is safe for human health and the environment, the safety assessment required under Decision 2003/33/EC for underground storage should be complemented by specific requirements and should also be made applicable to above-ground, retrievable storage.

(13)  The chlor-alkali industry should send all relevant data related to the decommissioning of mercury cells in their plants to the Commission and the competent authorities of the Member States concerned to facilitate enforcement of this Regulation. The industry sectors that gain mercury from the cleaning of natural gas or as a by-product from non-ferrous mining and smelting operations should also provide relevant data to the Commission and the competent authorities of the Member States concerned. The Commission should make this information publicly available.

(14)  It is appropriate to organise an exchange of information with all stakeholders in order to assess the potential need for supplementary measures related to import, export, temporary storage and safe final disposal of mercury, its compounds and mercury-containing products, without prejudice to the competition rules of the Treaty, in particular Article 81.

(15)  Member States should submit information on permits issued for temporary storage facilities as well as on the application and the market effects of this Regulation, in order to allow for its assessment in due time.

(16)  The Commission should take this information into account when submitting an assessment report in order to identify possible needs for amending this Regulation.

(17)  The Commission and the Member States should promote and facilitate awareness and ensure public availability of information on the export ban on metallic mercury, cinnabar ore and mercury compounds as well as on the safe storage of metallic mercury.

(18)  The Commission should also follow international developments concerning mercury supply and demand, in particular multilateral negotiations, and report on these in order to enable the consistency of the overall approach to be assessed.

(19)  Member States should lay down rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and ensure that they are applied. Those penalties should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

(20)  Technical assistance should be provided directly by the Commission and the Member States to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, or indirectly via support for projects by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), especially assistance which facilitates the shift towards alternative mercury-free technologies and the eventual phase-out of uses and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

(21)  The Regulation is motivated by the need to protect human health and the environment.

(22)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely reducing exposure to mercury by means of an export ban and a storage obligation, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, given the impact on the movement of goods and the functioning of the internal market as well as the cross-border nature of mercury pollution, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

The export of metallic mercury (Hg, CAS No 7439-97-6), cinnabar ore and mercury compounds with a mercury concentration above 5% weight by weight (w/w) from the Community shall be prohibited from 1 December 2010.

The export of mercury-containing products banned from sale or distribution within the European Union shall be prohibited from 1 December 2010.

Article 2

The import into the Community of metallic mercury (Hg, CAS No 7439-97-6), cinnabar ore, and mercury compounds with a mercury concentration above 5% weight by weight (w/w) shall be prohibited from 1 July 2010.

Member States shall meet their own mercury requirements from recovery from wastes and raw products.

Article 3

From 1 December 2010, Member States shall ensure that metallic mercury that is no longer used in the chlor-alkali industry or is extracted from cinnabar ore, mercury recovered from the cleaning of natural gas and mercury recovered as a by-product from non-ferrous mining and smelting operations shall be transported and stored, and eventually disposed of within the Community, in a way that is safe for human health and the environment, in appropriate facilities that qualify for that purpose, accompanied by a safety assessment and the relevant permit, pursuant to this Regulation.

Prior to any other alternative, consideration shall be given to the possibility of using Almadén for the safe storage of the existing metallic mercury stocks or metallic mercury sub-produced by industry all over Europe, but not mercury-containing articles that have become waste, thus making use of the infrastructures, local manpower and technological expertise existing there.

Article 4

1.  By way of derogation from point (a) of Article 5(3) of Directive 1999/31/EC metallic mercury that is considered as waste shall be stored temporarily in appropriate containment in:

   a) an underground salt mine adapted for temporary storage of metallic mercury prior to its safe final disposal;
   b) an above-ground facility exclusively dedicated to and equipped for the temporary storage of metallic mercury prior to its safe final disposal; or
   c) an installation permitted under Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control(8) (IPPC Directive) for the production of chlorine (section 4.2(a) of Annex I to that Directive) and equipped, as a part of that permitted installation, for the temporary storage of metallic mercury pending its safe final disposal.

In the case referred to in point (b) of the first subparagraph the criteria set out in section 2.4 of the Annex to Decision 2003/33/EC shall not apply.

2.  By way of derogation from point (a) of Article 11(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste(9), the competent authorities for destination and dispatch may not raise objections to shipments of metallic mercury that is considered as waste and that is destined for temporary storage based on grounds that the planned shipment would not be in accordance with measures taken to implement the principles of proximity, priority for recovery and self-sufficiency.

Article 5

1.  The safety assessment to be carried out in accordance with Decision 2003/33/EC for storage in an underground salt mine adapted for waste storage shall cover in particular the additional risks arising from the nature and long-term behaviour of the metallic mercury and its containment.

2.  A safety assessment ensuring a level of environmental protection equivalent to the level ensured by Decision 2003/33/EC shall be carried out and submitted to the competent authority for the temporary storage in a facility exclusively dedicated to and equipped for the storage of metallic mercury.

3.  The permit referred to in Articles 8 and 9 of Directive 1999/31/EC for the underground salt mine or the facility exclusively dedicated to and equipped for the temporary storage of metallic mercury shall include requirements for regular visual inspections of the containers and the installation of appropriate vapour detection equipment to detect any leak.

Article 6

The Commission shall undertake a revision of the safety assessment referred to in Decision 2003/33/EC to ensure that the particular risks of temporary storage of metallic mercury arising from the nature and long-term behaviour of the metallic mercury and its containment are covered. This revision shall be completed by 1 June 2010.

Article 7

During temporary storage, responsibility for safe storage shall lie with the owner of the storage facility. Member States shall set up a fund to ensure that financial resources are in place for the temporary storage and for the safe final disposal of mercury. The fund shall be created on the basis of fees from the chlor-alkali industry and from industry sectors that gain mercury in their production processes, such as, but not exclusively, the natural gas and non-ferrous industry, proportional to the amount of mercury sent for temporary storage.

Article 8

1.  The companies concerned in the chlor-alkali industry shall send the following data related to the decommissioning of mercury in a given year to the Commission and the competent authorities of the Member States concerned:

   best estimate of total amount of mercury still in use,
   amount of mercury recovered upon closure or reconversion of chlor-alkali plants,
   amount sent to individual temporary storage facilities,
   location and contact details for all storage facilities,
   transfers to other chlor-alkali plants in the European Union for the operation of continuing cells,
   amount temporarily stored under the responsibility of the original owner for the operation of continuing cells.

2.  The companies concerned in the industry sectors that gain mercury from the cleaning of natural gas or as a by-product from non-ferrous mining and smelting operations shall provide the following data related to mercury gained in a given year to the Commission and the competent authorities of the Member States concerned:

   amount of mercury gained,
   amount sent to individual temporary storage facilities,
   location and contact details for all storage facilities.

3.  The companies concerned shall send the data referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, as applicable, for the first time by 31 May ...(10), and thereafter each year before 31 May.

4.  The Commission shall make the information in paragraph 3 publicly available in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies(11).

Article 9

The Commission shall organise an initial exchange of information between Member States and the relevant stakeholders by 30 June 2010.

That exchange shall be based on the information collected until then and shall also examine the need for extending the export ban to mercury compounds with a mercury concentration below 5% weight by weight (w/w), for extending the storage obligation to metallic mercury from other sources and for time limits concerning storage in an underground salt mine or an above-ground facility specifically dedicated to and equipped for the temporary storage of metallic mercury.

The exchange of information shall inter alia analyse the results of the consideration given to Almadén as the site for the safe storage of existing metallic mercury stocks or metallic mercury sub-produced by European industry in accordance with Article 3.

Article 10

1.  Member States shall submit to the Commission a copy of any permit issued for a facility designated to store mercury.

2.  Member States shall draw up a register of buyers, sellers and traders of mercury, cinnabar ore and mercury compounds, and collect relevant information. They shall inform the Commission on the application and market effects of this Regulation in their respective territory every two years, within six months from the end of the period covered. The Commission shall publish the information in a concise report within one year from the submission by the Member States. The first set of information shall cover the years 2007 - 2008 and shall be submitted to the Commission by 30 June 2009, and made public by 30 June 2010. The information shall be provided in a format which shall be established by the Commission by ...(12).

3.  The information referred to in paragraph 2 shall at least contain data on the following:

   a) volumes, prices, originating country and destination country as well as the intended use of metallic mercury, cinnabar ore, calomel and mercury compounds entering or leaving the Community;
   b) volumes, prices, originating country and destination country as well as the intended use of metallic mercury, cinnabar ore, calomel and mercury compounds traded cross-border within the Community.

Article 11

Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are applied. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by ...* at the latest and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.

Article 12

The Commission and the Member States shall promote and facilitate awareness and ensure public availability of information on the export ban on metallic mercury, cinnabar ore and mercury compounds, as well as the safe storage of metallic mercury.

Article 13

1.  The Commission shall assess the application and market effects of this Regulation in the Community, taking into account the information referred to in Articles 9 and 10.

2.  The Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council by 30 June 2012 at the latest. The report shall, as appropriate, be accompanied by proposals for revision of this Regulation.

3.  By 1 June 2010, the Commission shall evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the compensation measures undertaken in order to allow the area affected by the closure of mercury mines to achieve viable economic and social alternatives.

Article 14

The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council by 31 December 2009 at the latest on progress in multilateral activities and negotiations on mercury, assessing in particular the consistency of the measures specified in this Regulation with international developments.

Article 15

The Commission and the Member States shall, taking into account in particular the needs of affected developing countries and countries with economies in transition, cooperate in promoting technical assistance, including training, for the development of the infrastructure, the capacity and the expertise necessary in order to make progress in the shift towards alternative mercury-free technologies and to eventually phase out uses and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

The Commission and the Member States shall also consider giving support to NGOs, which have been especially efficient in delivering those kinds of services.

Article 16

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C ...
(2) OJ C ...
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 20 June 2007.
(4) COM(2005)0020 final of 28.1.2005.
(5) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 128.
(6) OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, p. 1. Directive as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council ( OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).
(7) OJ L 11, 16. 1. 2003, p. 27.
(8) OJ L 257, 10.10.1996, p. 26. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 33, 4.2.2006, p. 1).
(9) OJ L 190, 12.7.2006, p. 1.
(10)* The year after entry into force of this Regulation.
(11) OJ L 264, 25.9.2006, p. 13.
(12)* One year after the entry into force of this Regulation.

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