Taxation Task force: The European Commission is currently reviewing the Energy Taxation Directive that was withdrawn by the European Commission in 2015 (as the file was blocked in Council) and will publish a revised Energy Taxation Directive, probably in Q3 2020.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 80,000 tonnes left until the end of June. Therefore, it was not possible to request a revision of the quota already by the 1st of July. The first opportunity to revise the quota will be from the 1st of January 2021.

Health, Safety and Environment Committee: The spring meeting of the HSE group in May was cancelled and replaced by a web-conference. Thanks to our office in Brussels, it went very well. 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, e.g. humans in case of COVID-19. The only likely source of the virus would be the operator that coughs into the fluid. Even in this scenario, the virus would be diluted rapidly. Furthermore, MWF contain emulsifiers and alkaline substances to which the virus is sensitive. Thus, one may expect an extremely low virus load of MWF originating from operators, if any.


However, there is another problem that may be associated with the virus: for hygiene reasons, hands are often washed. Frequent washing with soap and water may affect the skin protection film. Workers should use skin care products after cleaning to protect the skin from damage. A damaged skin protection film allows chemicals to easily attack the skin and could result in dermatitis, not only from MWF and other lubricants, but also other chemicals. Therefore, skin cream and other protecting creams such as “liquid gloves” are essential.

Another subject of discussion was the introduction of “interchangeable component groups” (ICG) into the requirements of Annex VIII, the submission of information to the poison centers. If the European Commission decides, together with the industry to introduce the ICGs, companies may use ICG instead of certain substances. This makes it easier to submit the information and reduces the overall number of submissions in case of formulation changes.

Technical and Competition Committees: The Technical and Competition Committees held a virtual meeting on 27th May, during which members were updated on the latest developments concerning the open cases and agreed on a series of next steps to ensure swift progress. Since then, the Committees have continued to work on the 22 cases currently open and issued one OEM Bulletin regarding PSA.

UEIL members have also been providing input into an external survey carried out by Ernst & Young as part of the evaluation of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER). The survey closed on 15th June and a public report summarising the answers to the survey is expected by September. It will be followed by a second consultation to be launched by the European Commission towards the end of the year.

A paper outlining UEIL’s position on the evaluation of the MVBER can be found at

The next meeting of the Technical and Competition Committees will take place virtually on 16th September.


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