UEIL Congress and New Leadership
The 2022 UEIL Congress took place from 19 October to 21 October in the beautiful city of Athens, Greece, with the central theme “Driving innovation – the lubricant industry on the move”.
During these few days in Athens, through presentations, panel discussions and dialogues between the participants: these topics and much more were tackled. This year’s Congress, with more than 220 participants, clearly shows the strength and interest of the industry to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Congress, I was appointed as the new President of UEIL. And I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Valentina Serra-Holm for her dedication and deep commitment to leading UEIL over the last six years. I am also very proud to have the trust of the UEIL Board to lead this transition and address the key challenges for our sector to ensure a safer, healthier, and greener environment.
UEIL is an important association for our industry: it is our role as a European association to ensure that lubricants are recognised as one of the solutions to meet the Green Deal objectives as they will continue to play a critical role in automotive and industrial use. As the new president of UEIL, I am committed to working for the best of the association, to make it continuously strive as it has been and even more in the future. Thus, in light of this, we are currently working on a new strategic plan, which will be then published.
I am looking forward to the many ventures to come.
Technical & Competition Committees Update
The Technical and Competition Committees continue to make progress on a large number of cases.
On the advocacy side, the Committees have started contact with National Competition Authorities in order to express UEIL’s views regarding the MVBER and to make them aware of the uncompetitive behaviours faced on the market.
Regarding Regulation (EU) 2018/858 and more specifically provisions on Access to Technical Information (ATI), the Committees have recently raised, during a Motor Vehicle Working Group meeting, the failure from some Member States (Belgium, France, Italy and Sweden) to implement or properly implement the Regulation. It has been stated that the European Commission should send them a letter of formal notice and if despite this notice, these countries still do not comply with EU Regulation, it should consider a formal infringement procedure. During this meeting, four other European organisations have backed these comments, also complained about the problem of implementation of ATI provisions and have asked the European Commission to take action.
Health, Safety and Environment Committee
Over the past months, the various Committees subgroups have been particularly active to develop UEIL’s position on several issues of concern for the industry. For instance, the CLP subgroup worked on common response with ATIEL for the call for evidence on the draft delegated act introducing new hazard classes in the CLP regulation, while the biocide subgroup is finalising its position paper on the importance of biocides for metalworking fluids.
As 2023 will be a crucial year for the future of the chemical legislations in Europe, the Committee is building up its work plan for the year to come. Members are getting notably prepared to face the CLP and REACH revisions proposals, with on top of it the upcoming PFAS restrictions and the proposal to classify medium chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCP) as “substance of very high concern” (SVHC). The REACH subgroup has taken a huge step in deciding to meet on a monthly basis, taken into consideration the workload ahead.
An advocacy plan is under construction, together with a new coalition building strategy, which will be review during the first HSE Committee meeting of 2023 in January. Strengthening the HSE Committee’s advocacy activities in 2023 and ensuring the voice of the lubricant industry is heard in Brussels is the key priority.
Taxation Taskforce Update
The EU co-legislators are currently negotiating the revised Energy Taxation Directive that the European Commission published last year. This revised Directive is important for the lubricant sector to promote a level playing field in Europe.
Furthermore, related to UEIL’s objective to prevent the inclusion of lubes under the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS), certain EU Member States are concerned about increased fraud with lubes across Europe and are once again increasing the pressure to include lubes under EMCS. UEIL will continue its outreach to the EU Member States in the coming weeks to express its concern and will discuss with the European Commission the option of a definition of ‘light lubes’ that might be included under EMCS at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.
The European Commission has also decided to reduce the quota on GP II to 75K tonnes in the first half of 2022 and to 0 in the second half of 2022. UEIL is lobbying for a higher quota since the demand for GP II is higher than the supply in Europe and because it is difficult to change from one producer to another for lubricant blenders. In addition, due to the EU sanctions on Russia, demand for GP II by European blenders has even increased in recent months. Therefore, UEIL hoped that the European Commission was willing to extend the transition phase on the current quota on GP II after June 2022, which has not happened yet. At the end of December, Member States will discuss at the technical working level if a quota is needed for GP II for 2023.