Conflict Minerals: Negotiations Begin in Europe on Proposed Legislation

Informal negotiations between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament (trialogue) started on the conflict minerals dossier on February 1, 2016. The trialogue is an informal, closed-door process in which the Council and the Parliament try to reach to a compromise on a legislative proposal.

Iuliu Winkler, a Romanian centre-right Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is representing the Parliament’s position. The Council Presidency, currently held by the Netherlands, negotiates on behalf of the Council, which is made up of representatives of each of the EU member countries. The Commission also sits in these negotiations, but has less negotiating power than the Parliament and the Council.

IPC has met with Commission staff, MEP Winkler’s staff and several other offices. In the meetings, IPC emphasized the burdens and unintended problems Dodd-Frank has caused, both for manufacturers and the miners in Africa it was intended to help.

Both the Commission staff and MEP Winkler are supportive of voluntary measures for downstream manufactures, such as PCB manufacturers, assemblers, and OEMs. However, in 2014, the Parliament voted for a mandatory monitoring system for minerals originating from conflict zones.

The Council Presidency is expected to schedule several technical meetings to assess areas of agreement and identify where compromise is needed. After that, additional trialogue meetings will be held. Although the Netherlands would like to finalize legislation before its presidency ends in June 2016, negations may stretch out longer if agreement can’t be reached.

IPC will continue to actively advocate for our members on this important issue and keep you informed of any new developments.

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