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New EC determined to make REACH a success
26
Mar '10
Vice President Tajani and Commissioner Potocnik have swiftly followed up on their undertaking given during their Hearings in the European Parliament by together visiting the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, in Helsinki on 25 March.

They are taking action to make progress towards the registration of chemicals and the management of substances of very high concern. Of particular importance is the smooth implementation of the registration of high-volume chemicals by the REACH deadline of 30 November 2010 by implementing solutions to practical problems to support industry's work, in particular SMEs. Both Commissioners also announced their common approach on the identification and management of substances of very high concern. They also welcomed progress on the translation of the guidelines for the implementation of REACH. Both commissioners underlined their commitment to the success of REACH, the European Chemicals Regulation.

"REACH is a key example of balance-striking between the three pillars of sustainable development: competitiveness, social and environment. REACH ensures a high level of protection of human health and the environment, while also playing an important role to encourage innovation, foster competitiveness and better enable enterprises meet essential demands of consumers” underlined Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Janez Potocnik, Commissioner for environment, in a joint statement.

”These announcements are extremely welcome. Taken with the Vice-President and Commissioner's visit here today, they signal that the Commission and ECHA stand side-by-side in making REACH work to the benefit of European citizens and our environment” said Geert Dancet, Executive Director of ECHA.

During their visit the Commissioners discussed the following issues with ECHA and stakeholders:

1. The first deadline under REACH for registration is only a few months away.

30 November 2010 is the deadline under REACH for registration of highest volume chemicals, as well as known particularly hazardous substances. Manufacturers and importers have to document their management of risk of chemicals in their registration files to be able to continue their production and marketing. It is estimated that about 9000 substances are covered.

In this context Mr Tajani highlighted progress in making it easier for enterprises, in particular SMEs to successfully register chemicals, for instance via SIEFs1, which bring together businesses registering the same substance so they can share data on it. This reduces costs and avoids duplication of animal testing.

A Directors Contact Group, chaired by the Commission, is currently monitoring industry's preparedness towards the deadline of 30 November and implementing solutions to practical problems where needed. It is composed of director-level representatives of the Commission, ECHA and industry associations producing chemicals at high-volumes, or representing SMEs.

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