In order to reduce the exposure of populations to mercury, the European Union, in 2005, resolutely committed to restrict or prohibit most of its uses in the Member States and reduce the quantity and circulation of mercury for international trade.

The Community strategy on mercury, that appeared in 2005, was amended in 2011. It has the following objectives: 

• to reduce the emissions of mercury;
• to reduce the mercury in circulation in the company by reducing the demand and supply;
• to manage the long-term existence of surplus mercury and the company's mercury "reservoirs" (products still in use or stored which contain mercury);
• to prevent exposure to mercury;
• to improve understanding of the mercury issue and its solutions;
• to support and encourage international initiatives pertaining to mercury.

In the meantime, the European legislative texts were adopted in sectors as diverse as restriction in marketing of various products containing mercury (such as thermometers), prohibition of exports outside the European Union, reduction in industrial emissions, storage and disposal of mercury, restrictions of food contaminants, water quality, etc.