Member States call for sustainable EU chemicals policy

At June’s Environment Council meeting, Member States adopted conclusions titled 'Towards a Sustainable Chemicals Policy Strategy of the Union' demanding that the European Commission produce the overdue 'strategy for a non-toxic environment'.

The aim of the strategy should be to prevent or substantially reduce human health and environmental impacts of potentially harmful chemicals placed on the market or released into the environment.

Despite a legal deadline having passed in 2018, Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said that the relevant EU Environmental Action Programme (EAP) only expires in December 2020. He has also mentioned that the Commission would publish a progress report on its work on chemical mixtures ‘soon’ and ‘later this year’.  

Environment Ministers have also called for an early warning system for chemical risks and an action plan on endocrine disruptors. Germany called for better implementation of the REACH regulation. Spain stressed that while the EU must reduce exposure to harmful substances, the final goal was ‘to replace them altogether’. The Council's conclusions call on the Commission to improve authorisation and restriction procedures to this end. Several countries demanded the EU apply equally stringent chemicals regulations to imported as to domestic goods.

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