Yesterday an EU delegation toured the tar-sands. What is at stake is how the EU Fuels Quality Directive is implemented. Since the Directive is intended to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of fuel used in the EU, it has the potential to ban the import of tarsands oil. However, a direct reference to tarsands oil was taken out of the legislation, thanks to oil industry lobbying.
It's interesting to note the importance the Canadian and Albertan governments have attached to this visit, even though the EU is currently a very small market for Alberta's dirty oil. Federal minister Iris Evans even described it as "crucial". She stated that the fear is of the EU's influence on other states who might implement similar legislation.