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Mercury pollution: EU Council confirms agreement with the Parliament to enhance protection

15 December 2016 | European Council

(The following press release was issued by the European Council on 15 December 2016)

On 16 December, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) endorsed, on behalf of the Council, a deal with the European Parliament on a draft regulation on mercury. The new rules aim to enhance the protection against the pollution by this highly toxic substance. 

The text was agreed by the Council’s presidency and the European Parliament during a trilogue meeting on 6 December 2016. 

Mercury represents a global and major threat to human health, including through the presence of its compound methylmercury in fish and seafood. Once emitted into the air or the water, mercury can travel long distances. That is why mercury pollution needs to be tackled at international level. 

Minamata Convention 

The changes agreed will ensure EU legislation is aligned with international rules as set out in the Minamata Convention. This will allow for swift EU ratification of the text and therefore pave the way for its entry into force. 

“Mercury pollution is found all around the globe, even in virgin lands very remote from pollution sources. This proves how dangerous and global this pollution is. Today we have shown that we remain committed to halting mercury pollution. This deal will enable a swift ratification of the Minamata Convention by the EU”. – László Sólymos, Slovak Environment Minister and President of the Council