The European Parliament trade committee (INTA) was due to vote today 16th June to progress the decision taken by all members in the plenary in mid-May (last news report can be found here) to open trialogue discussions with the Commission and the Council on the ‘conflict minerals’ law. As previously reported, this draft law is highly controversial with debate over whether voluntary or mandatory measures would be more effective, and which would best protect miners around the world without resulting in over-regulation and embargo. INTA was due to vote on the next step to move on with the trialogue and decide on the composition of the team that would take part, but instead members of that committee opened a new debate on the procedural matters which are unclear in this highly unusual situation. INTA planned to vote on whether the trialogue should start, under a procedure put forward by an informal legal opinion of advisors, yet many within the committee questioned how INTA could take upon itself that decision which they felt had already been specifically taken by the much wider group of members in the plenary, something that could undermine the democratic process itself. This reflects a general concern that INTA favours a voluntary regulation and not the wider position of the plenary for stricter regulation, with ‘trickery’ and ‘small politics’ being discussed in this unscheduled debate. The INTA vote was delayed until 29th June in order to gather more official legal opinion on the process to be followed and the extent of the mandate of INTA.