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Mercury Regulation - first reading agreement reached

16 December 2016

Last week the European Parliament and the Council concluded a first reading agreement on the Mercury Regulation. 

Pending the final text to be confirmed by the vote of the ENVI Committee and of COREPER 1, below are some elements from the trilogues negotiations on the Mercury Regulation. 

The final compromise can be considered a bit disappointing as it does not reflect the ambition clearly expressed by the European Parliament in its vote in the ENVI Committee last October, particularly concerning the ban on dental amalgam (art.10) by 2022.

Had the Parliament position been retained, the shift to a real circular economy for water services would have been more straightforward, since a ban on dental amalgam would have made the recycling of good quality sewage sludge less costly.

The agreement on the deadlines for amalgam separators and the encapsulated amalgam will contribute to addressing the problem posed by dental amalgam only in a very limited way.   

On the positive side, the co-legislators recognised the necessity of a study to be conducted by the Commission in 2020 on the feasibility of a ban, to be imposed preferably by 2030.  

The compromise reached on the establishment of national plans for the phase-out of dental amalgams in 2019 is very appreciated as well as the ban for the population at risk in 2018.

Congratulations to the Slovak Presidency and the MEPs working on the Mercury Regulation who put a lot of efforts in reaching this compromise after long negotiations!


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