The Greens/EFA In the European Parliament  [Printer-friendly version]
December 13, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: The Greens and the European Free Alliance
(EFA) immediately derided the European chemicals policy, REACH,
enacted today by the European Parliament. Green Member of Parliament
Caroline Lucas said, "This deal is an early Christmas present for the
chemicals industry..."]

The European Parliament today voted to adopt the compromise deal on
the REACH regulation, agreed with Council on 30 November, rejecting
both the Greens' alternative compromise and individual Green
amendments aimed at strengthening the text. Speaking after the vote
Swedish Green and shadow rapporteur, Carl Schlyter said:

"As expected, the EP has rubber-stamped the deal on REACH, bringing to
an end 9 years of discussions on reviewing the EU's chemicals rules.
The rapporteur is toasting the 'success' of the compromise, however it
is far too early to judge if the new regulation will offer much
greater protection to EU citizens from hazardous chemicals.

"One certainty is that the EP failed to ensure mandatory substitution
of substances of high concern in consumer products where a safer
alternative exists. In doing so, the Parliament missed the opportunity
to guarantee better protection from these chemicals, all to protect
short-term profits for the chemicals industry."

UK Green MEP and Environment Committee member Caroline Lucas added:

"This deal is an early Christmas present for the chemicals industry,
rewarding it for its intense and underhand lobbying campaign. While
the legislative text has now been agreed, the devil will be in the
detail of the implementation of these rules. We are deeply worried
that the key goal of this legislation -- to offer EU citizens and the
environment sufficient protection from dangerous chemicals -- appears
to have been lost in the haste to agree a compromise.

"Worryingly, while the legislative phase was relatively transparent
except for the final trialogues, the crucial implementation of REACH
promises to be an opaque process in which the chemicals industry will
have enormous influence and will try to weaken REACH further. Given
the deep division between the Commission services responsible, many
more behind-the-scenes fights are looming. It is unacceptable the
Chemicals Agency, which will prepare crucial decisions on these
substances, can be veiled in secrecy. We can only hope that consumers
will make use of their right to get information about substances of
very high concern in everyday products to such an extent that the
retail sector will voluntarily withdraw products containing these

Richard More O' Ferrall,
Press and Communications Officer,
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: Brussels +32 2 2841667 / Strasburg +33 3 88174375
Mobile: +32-477-44-38-42
Fax: 0032 2 2844944