15 December 2005 12:28 [Source: ICIS news]
PARIS (ICIS news)--The Reach draft adopted by Europe’s Council of Ministers on 13 December requires “real modifications,” French trade group UIC (Union des Industries Chimiques) said on Thursday.
UIC is concerned that the authorisation process in Reach is still not clear and that the proposed chemicals agency lacks strength.
European Union (EU) ministers adopted the draft at an extraordinary meeting this week. The legislation will now be re-drafted by the European Commission (EC) taking into account the Council’s views before being submitted to the European Parliament (EP) in May next year for a second reading. Reach is expected to be adopted in 2007.
Political agreement at this stage on Reach, the European Union’s controversial new chemicals policy, is "a very important stage in the co-decision process", UIC said.
However, it said it regrets that in the substitution process that will be part of chemicals authorisations - Reach stands for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals - even where risk control has been demonstrated an analysis of possible alternatives must be supplied. The Council did not support the European Parliament in suggesting that authorisations be limited to five years, but the UIC said it believes the imposition of a systematic revision of all authorisations to be a "a carrier of legal insecurity".
UIC also said the role of the chemicals agency had not been sufficiently strengthened as suggested by the French government.
It fears that data sharing in the registration stage could be a complex process likely to harm intellectual property and is concerned about more onerous specific requirements for the registration of synthetic intermediates on site.
Meanwhile, a study on three points of Reach has been commissioned from consultants Alcimed by the French industry and environment ministries.
The first, to measure the impact of the registration of small volumes of substances on small and medium-size companies, concludes that it would cost from 1% to 90% of their annual sales, especially costly for companies with a workforce of less than fifty people.
The second indicates that strengthening the chemicals agency would entail no extra cost for EU member states or the agency itself but could be achieved if resources available across Europe were optimised.
The adoption of Reach would entail a slight increase in the number of employees required in France to manage the new regulation, Alcimed said.
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