12 July 2006 18:30 [Source: ICIS news]
BRUSSELS (ICIS news)--Members of the European Parliament’s committee on environment Wednesday voiced their hopes that a final agreement on proposed EU chemical legislation, known as REACH, will be completed by year’s end.
The Finnish minister for trade and industry, representing the Finnish presidency of the EU, will present plans Thursday to the committee to complete the agreement by the end of Finland’s term of office at the end of the year.
Though the council of environmental ministers have not yet discussed the controversial aspect of registration and authorisation of chemicals, a council working party on REACH will convene in December to ensure agreement with the European Parliament’s second reading, also set for December.
The European Commission Wednesday adopted a communication reaffirming its position on REACH, fully supporting the common position agreed last month by environmental ministers. That communication will be presented to the parliamentary plenary session in September.
A Commission representative said during the environmental committee meeting that the Commission continues to believe that authorisation and registration of dangerous chemicals should remain in the final legislation.
Some MEPs voiced concern that constant policing of dangerous chemicals was too restrictive and that some leeway should be given to the proposed European Chemicals Agency while other MEPs stressed that the Parliament should not allow REACH to lose the strength it had during its first reading earlier this year.
“Chemical industry groups are going against REACH, but that is not representative of all of the EU,” said Martin Callanan, UK conservative MEP, who stressed Swedish industry was not against REACH and the UK industry no longer was.
“It is our responsibility to put forward a proposal just as strong as in the first reading. There is a majority in this committee and in the parliament in favour of strong lines on authorisation and registration. We can think about compromise at a later stage,” said Jonas Sjöstedt, Swedish MEP from the Nordic left.
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