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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Working Document
Luxembourg Presidency Workshop on REACH

Date of release : 12-05-2005

Policy area : Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research) Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research)

Event : Luxembourg Presidency REACH Workshop

On May, 10th-11th, 2005 the Luxembourg Presidency hosted a successful Workshop on REACH that focused on the outcome of the further work on impact assessment and on the workability of key processes in the legislation proposal. The proposal for the EU’s new chemical policy, REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) is one of the Presidency’s priorities both on the competitiveness and the environment agendas.

The REACH Workshop brought together key members from the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. In addition, representatives from industry (UNICE/CEFIC), environmental NGOs (EEB/WWF) and trade unions (ETUC/EMCEF) involved in the REACH High Level Group as well as the European Economic and Social Committee were invited to participate in the workshop. The workshop’s objective was to facilitate inter-institutional discussions on the further impact assessment work recently presented to the high level group*, on progress of REACH in Parliament and on complementary or alternative proposals of Member States that aim at improving the efficiency and workability of key REACH processes.

The first part of the Workshop focused on results from the further work on impact assessment undertaken in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission (Directorate General Enterprise and Directorate General Environment) and industry (UNICE/CEFIC). The Workshop discussed the results of the KPMG industry consortium study dealing with the supply chain of the automotive, inorganic, flexible packaging and electronic sectors, the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) study on the impact of REACH on the New Member States and Directorate General Enterprise’s study on the Impact of REACH on the textiles industry. The Commission presented its conclusions that are publicly available.

The second part of the workshop addressed the debate in the European Parliament’s key committees. The rapporteurs Guido Sacconi from the Environment-Committee, Lena Ek from the Industry Committee and Hartmut Nassauer from the Internal market Committee confirmed their intention to follow the timetable leading to a first reading by autumn 2005. They presented the main elements of their reports, with a particular emphasis on improving workability and/or reducing the burden on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as optimizing the balance between costs and benefits of the REACH proposal.

Within the scope of the work of the Council Ad Hoc Working Party on REACH, some Member States have prepared complementary or alternative proposals that aim to improve the efficiency and workability of key REACH processes. Crucial to the workability of REACH is the registration of chemical substances. Three proposals dealing specifically with potential improvements to registration were thoroughly discussed by the participants; Hungary and UK’s proposal for one substance – one registration (OSOR), Malta and Slovenia’s alternative approach for the registration and evaluation of low volume substances (1-10 tons) and Sweden’s reflections on substances in articles.

The Presidency welcomes the active participation of all who attended. The stimulating discussion allows the Presidency to highlight the following points:

  • case studies provided little indication of substance withdrawal for economic reasons linked to REACH requirements;
  • lower volume substances are most sensitive to any additional cost burden;
  • due to limited resources SMEs generally face more difficulties when complying with new legislation.
  • improved information in the supply chain will lessen the likelihood of substance withdrawal
  • targeted information requirements for low volume substances may facilitate registration
  • enhanced cooperation between registrants may alleviate resource burdens

The results of the impact assessments will provide valuable input into the continuing negotiations. The Presidency is of the opinion that sufficient information is now available from impact assessments to allow the further consideration of complementary proposals to the Commission’s text. These proposals must provide solutions to the identified problems without jeopardising the underlying objectives of REACH.

*Under the Memorandum of Understanding on Further Work concerning the Impact Assessment of REACH a High Level Group was set up to oversee the work on the studies. It was designed to provide a forum for high-level dialogue between stakeholders and the Commission, Council (Presidency) and the European Parliament.

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This page was last modified on : 12-05-2005

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