18 January 2005 13:35 [Source: ICIS news]
HELSINKI (CNI)--Finland's chemicals industry has demanded a considerably larger and stronger central agency than that being planned by the European Commission (EC) to administer its proposed new policy on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach).
Hannu Vornamo, director-general of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, told CNI on Tuesday that the workload of the bureau, to be located here in the Finnish capital, will be so extensive that the Commission’s proposal for some 200 employees to start in 2007 will be nowhere near enough.
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"What’s more, we need to start thinking about preliminary implementation work as soon as possible," added. Vornamo said the bureaucratic burden will be so huge, that "if we don't increase the manpower from the very beginning, we will be in trouble".
Vornamo argued that to retain the European chemical industry's competitiveness there would have to be massive training programmes for national associations, authorities, civil servants and companies. He added that it was "better to start this six months earlier than later".
A lot of smaller downstream companies are unfamiliar with regulation and registration, he claimed, "so there will need to be a massive publicity campaign explaining what it all means and what must be done.
Vornamo said that the agency will from the outset "be handling tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of chemical registration applications, which must be dealt with promptly if the industry is not to come to a standstill while waiting for the granting of approvals".
He conceded that in the long-term such a huge bureaucracy will probably not be necessary. "But in the first ten years, we must be prepared to invest as much in the agency as it takes to keep things working efficiently."
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