Socialists and Democrats today supported a new directive to bring down sulphur levels in marine fuels and ensure that that the EU respects its international obligations. The directive passed today also provides the industry with regulatory certainty in order to make necessary investments.
Sulphur is responsible for some 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe, causing respiratory diseases and other health problems. The environmental and health benefits will be significant.
Euro MP Marita Ulvskog, vice-president of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said:
"The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) reduced values for sulphur content back in 2008, and EU members agreed. Now it is time to translate this international agreement into European law."
"For Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) - the Baltic Sea, North Sea and English Channel in the EU-, the limit went down from 1.5% to 1% on 1 July 2010 and will go down to 0.1% on 1 January 2015.
"This directive will bring the limit down in all EU waters gradually from 4.5% to 0.5% as of 2020. 
"The ambition was to go beyond the IMO rules taking into account the internal market requirements for a level playing field. The final agreement will reduce these differences."

Victoria Martín de la Torre
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