Answer – Export of toxic fuel from Europe to Africa – E-006936/2016

The Commission takes note of the results of the Public Eye investigation released in September 2016.

There is no global legal framework governing the sulphur content of petroleum products in international trade. EU fuel exports to third countries have to meet the national sulphur content standards of the importing country. Those national standards vary considerably.

Work is underway to improve the quality of fuels worldwide, in particular through the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, in which the EU and a number of EU Member States are partners and which has supported the East African countries mentioned by the Honourable Member in E-007643/2016 to set lower maximum sulphur levels. The Coalition has adopted a Global Strategy to Introduce Low Sulphur Fuels and Cleaner Diesel Vehicles(1) which aims at limiting sulphur in fuels to no more than 50ppm in all countries by 2025.

Furthermore, the EU strongly supports the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), as reaffirmed in recent Council Conclusions on Business and Human Rights(2). The EEAS(3) and the Commission work with Member States and third parties to implement the UNGPs, including as regards access to justice. Practical work to date include the adoption of National Action Plans by Member States, sector specific guidance and guidance for SMEs.

(1) http://ccacoalition.org/en/content/global-sulfur-strategy
(2) EU Council Conclusions on Business and Human Rights adopted on 20.6.2016: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/06/20-fac-business-human-rights-conclusions/
(3) European External Action Service.
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