Back on May 20, the European parliament issued a surprising vote in favor of enforcing an obligatory monitoring system for the whole supply chain of conflict minerals, affecting 800,000 European companies. The measure entails that European gold, tantalum (the material that makes mobile phones vibrate), tungsten and tin imports from conflict zones will be subjected to tougher surveillance procedures. The victory for the regulation was hailed by supporters as an historic victory that puts the respect of human rights above the profit of companies, but it was widely acknowleged at the time that the regulation had a long road of negotiation to travel before adoption.
The National Law Review reports that the EU Council working group met in September to discuss their views on the proposed regulation. "During the September meeting," writes the NLR, "the EC presented its assessment of the draft regulation to the group. The presidency of the Council (which rotates between EU member states every 6 months) is held by Luxembourg until December 2015. We have learned that the Council aims to reach a position on the draft regulation during the Luxembourgish presidency (or by the end of 2015). Once this position is reached, trialogue negotiations with the Parliament and the Commission will begin. The result of those trialogue discussions would be a final consensus on the conflict minerals regulation. Therefore, the timeline for the draft regulation will extend into 2016. The trialogue negotiations (among the EU Parliament, the Commission, and the Council) are not likely to begin until early 2016."