10 July 2003 14:05 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission (EC) had received more than 4000 submissions by midday Thursday to its internet consultation for the Reach (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) proposals and more are expected by the end of the day, the submission deadline.
Comments had come from a broad range of stakeholders and interest groups: from individuals and industry associations to companies and non-governmental organisations and 1700 had been published to the web. Individuals and organisations submitting to the Internet consultation could decide whether their comments were made public.
The public consultation web pages were last updated on 7 July but will soon reflect the rush of submissions made in the past few days. This is the first time that the European Union (EU) has used the Internet to open up discussion on key European legislative proposals. The Internet consultation on the wide-reaching chemical policy is seen as a vitally important part of the EC’s strategy on better regulation which includes more systematic consultation.
The EC’s timetable is to analyse the replies over the summer (Q3) before Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom and Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen meet in early September to decide on the contents of final proposal for a new European chemicals policy.
Chemicals regulation proposals will be submitted to the European parliament and member states within a month for joint deliberation and moves towards adoption, the EC said.
Liikanen said at the Cefic (European chemical industry council) general assembly in Hamburg, Germany on 27 June that the EC will have an updated impact assessment of the Reach proposals by then.
In Hamburg, Liikanen acknowledged the serious concerns of industry about many aspects of the new policy. He said the whole purpose of the Internet consultation was to give stakeholders the opportunity to identify these concerns and to put forward better ideas if possible.
The consultation had been welcomed by industry and other interest groups but many were worried that they were being given too short a period to respond to a complex 1200 page document made available only in English.
"The task now facing us to design a balanced chemicals policy is unprecedented in its complexity and its potential repercussions on large parts of European industry," Liikanen admitted in Hamburg.For background and further details, see: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/chemicals/chempol/whitepaper/contributions.htm
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