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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Speech by Lucien Lux, Minister for the Environment, to the European Parliament (regulation REACH)

Date of Speech : 19-01-2005

Place : Brussels

Speaker : Lucien Lux

Policy area : Environment Environment

Event : Joint speeches to the European Parliament on new REACH regulation

Mr President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would first and foremost like to thank:

the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy,

and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

for having invited us and given us the opportunity, right from the outset of the Luxembourg Presidency, to present the work programme and priorities of the Presidency for the REACH regulation project.

As already touched on by my colleague Jeannot Krecké, the REACH regulation project is a successful example of the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, in that it aims simultaneously to improve and protect human health and the environment, while maintaining competitivity and strengthening the spirit of innovation of European industry – the very principles set out in the white book on the strategy for the future policy on chemical substances.

The Luxembourg Presidency intends to follow up on the considerable efforts made by the Dutch Presidency on the REACH proposal within the ad-hoc working group of the Council. To this end, the next six months will be dedicated to an exhaustive, detailed and complete discussion of headings IV to VIII of the proposal (namely ‘Information within the supply chain’, ‘Downstream users’, ‘Evaluation’, ‘Authorisation and restrictions’), as well as the related annexes.

It does not require an economic analyst, nor an experienced model developer or forecaster to anticipate the intense debate that will be held on these headings. Without wishing to claim exhaustiveness, allow me to explain briefly and in order the main themes that will keep the Council busy during the next six months.

Heading IV aims to ensure a flow of information adapted to the needs of all actors in the chemical substances supply chain. This heading therefore has an effect on the quantity and quality of information available to all producers, importers and downstream users of chemical substances.

Heading V introduces the obligations of enhanced information for downstream users within the framework of legislation on chemical substances. This information will contribute to better protection of the environment and workers’ health.

The study of heading VI will lead to Helsinki-based discussions between the competent authorities of the Member States and the future European Chemicals Agency on the sharing of responsibilities and roles in the evaluation of substances. Debates on this heading will have to take into account the different administrative capacities of the Member States. Therefore, we expect differing thoughts on the effect the proposal will have on the competent national authorities of the Member States.

Headings VII and VIII on the authorisation and restrictions of chemical substances are aimed at the progressive elimination and replacement of dangerous substances and preparations. This will encourage innovation and research into substitutes on the part of the producers of these particularly dangerous substances.

Moreover, the Luxembourg Presidency will establish dialogue between the Commission and the future British Presidency on the technical aspects of the British/Hungarian suggestion "one substance, one registration" (OSOR), which will need to be examined more thoroughly by the Member States towards the end of the Presidency.

The Luxembourg Presidency will encourage efforts aimed at reducing excessive bureaucracy and favouring the implementation of REACH, without questioning the founding principles of this regulation proposal, as a precautionary principle.

A thorough examination of REACH and the political issues raised by the ad-hoc working group is planned during the "Competitivity" Council of 6 June 2005, as well as during the "Environment" Council of 24 June 2005.

The Presidency will seek to bring about a political agreement during 2005, and will continue to ensure an intense exchange of information and remain entirely available for the committees of the European Parliament concerned by this proposal.

This page was last modified on : 11-03-2005

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