Taxation Task force: The European Commission is currently reviewing the Energy Taxation Directive that was withdrawn by the European Commission in 2015 (as the file was blocked in Council) and will publish a revised Energy Taxation Directive, probably in Q3 2020.

Related to UEIL’s objective to prevent the inclusion of lubes under EMCS, certain EU Member States are concerned about increased fraud with lubes in Europe and are once again increasing the pressure to include lubes under EMCS. UEIL will continue its outreach to EU Member States in the coming weeks to express its concern and will propose a new definition of ‘light lubes’ as requested by Member States in Q3 2020.

Finally, the European Commission has decided from the 1st of January 2020 to set a quota of 400 tonnes annually for Gp II. UEIL is actively lobbying against this decision as it will have a negative impact on the competitiveness of SMEs.

Under the current quota there is still only 80.000 tonnes left until the end of June. The first opportunity to revise the quota is from the 1st of July 2020.

HSE Committee: The corona outbreak will have a tremendous impact on the lubes business, especially for fluids used in production such as metalworking fluids (MWF). Some fear that MWF could become contaminated with high doses of the virus, but this is highly unlikely.

Viruses cannot grow without host organisms, and MWF contain emulsifiers and alkaline substances to which the virus is sensitive.

Today, for hygiene reasons, hands often have to be washed with skin care products after cleaning to protect the skin from damage, otherwise certain chemicals, including lubricants, could cause dermatitis.

The Commission is expected to decide on the 16th Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) of the CLP Regulation in May 2020.



This includes the change in the concentration limit for boric acid from 5.5% to 0.3% for classification of a mixture as “toxic for reproduction, 1B”. Today, some MWF concentrates and emulsions contain boric acid, but in concentrations below 5.5% and above 0.3%. When the ATP comes into force (18 months after decision/publication), formulators are required to review their current classification.

Technical and Competition Committees: Since their last meeting in January 2020, the Technical and Competition Committees have decided to close three pending cases and are continuing to handle the 23 cases currently open. No new OEM Bulletin was issued over this period.

The Committees have also been actively engaging on the ongoing evaluation of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER) in order to ensure fair and healthy competition in the automotive sector, and more specifically in the aftermarket.

In recent weeks, UEIL members have been providing input to an external survey on this topic carried out by Ernst & Young.

The survey has now closed and will be followed by a second public consultation, by the European Commission, in Q3-Q4 of this year.

The Committees believe that the MVBER provides an adequate legislative framework to guarantee a level playing field for all operators and prevent anticompetitive behaviour. However, the ongoing evaluation of the legislation also provides a unique opportunity to improve a few aspects of the competition rules in the automotive aftermarket.

The next meeting of the Technical and Competition Committees will take place virtually on the 27th of May.

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