15 March 2002 18:03 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has accused the German government of undermining plans by the European Commission (EC) to place on chemicals producers the burden of proof that a chemical is safe.
It claimed the German government had bowed to industry pressure in its position paper on future European Union (EU) chemicals policy.
The EEB, which represents 135 environmental citizens' organisations across Europe, said the German proposals published earlier this week "completely overthrow the ideas for a new and effective chemicals authorisation procedure". The German proposals, which respond to an EU white paper on future chemicals policy, was developed by the office of chancellor Gerhard Schroder and the German chemicals industry.
The German government wants the European Commission (EC) to issue free licences to industry to use hazardous chemicals, the environmental group said in a statement received Friday.
"The German idea is contrary to the European Parliament and Commission's positions, which foresee shifting the workload and burden of proof upon industry," it continued.
Stefan Scheuer, EEB water and chemicals co-ordinator, urged the government to reconsider its position. "We hope that Germany will not do again what it has done during the negotiations on the end of life vehicle directive, where Chancellor Schroder stood up for the car industry to block more ambitious European environmental goals."
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