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Friday, October 19, 2018

Revised EU Sulphur Directive approved by the European COUNCIL

In a follow-up report on our article of 14 September 2012 (WN #37), we can report that the revised EU Sulphur Directive has been also approved by the EU Council this week. Germany, however, opposed the text, saying "taken as a whole, Germany does not support the proposal", which serves to highlight the problems of distortion of competition between North and South, among other things.

During the Council meeting the European Commission put forward six statements to clarify its position on the changes introduced to the text during the first reading negotiations between the Council and the Parliament, with regard to:

  • Port Reception Facilities: the Commission reiterates its right on initiative on the inclusion of waste from exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) under the principle of no special fee
  • 2013 Air Quality Review: the Commission is assessing the costs and benefits of additional measures to reduce air pollution from ships, including the impacts of applying a maximum fuel sulphur standard of 0.1% in territorial waters
  • New SECAs: the Commission clarifies that new SECAs designated through IMO should not automatically become EU law without it going through the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (i.e. negotiations between Parliament and Council)
  • Other statements refer to the use of implementing acts, inter alia for the frequency and definition of sampling


Although these statements are not legally binding, they provide a good indication as regards the direction the Commission will take on the implementation of the revised Directive.

The full text of the statements can be found here, and will be published in conjunction with the Directive.

While Finland and Estonia chose to abstain, this did not impact the overall qualified majority required for the adoption. The revised Sulphur Directive has to be published in the Official Journal before it can enter into force and this is expected to take place in mid-November. We will provide a copy when it is available.

Contact: Dragos Rauta