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ECHA formally opens its doors in Helsinki
06
Jun '08
12 months after its creation, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has evolved from a few staff to a fully functioning organisation of 200 employees. On the 1st of June 2008, the Agency launched the REACH-IT portal and started to accept pre-registrations and other data submissions from industry. To commemorate the move from the build-up to the operational phase, a formal inauguration ceremony for the Agency was held at the Helsinki City Hall.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, European Parliament Vice-President Gérard Onesta, Mayor of Helsinki Jussi Pajunen, and ECHA's Executive Director Geert Dancet addressed an audience of Agency staff and guests.

ECHA's Executive Director Geert Dancet said: “During the past year, ECHA has successfully met the targets set in the REACH Regulation and became fully operational as planned. The time lines for us have been ambitious, the number of projects challenging and the goals demanding. By meeting these, ECHA demonstrates the potential to become the most modern regulatory agency”.

Our Achievements
During the past twelve months, ECHA has been recruiting staff, building up its organisation and structures, setting up standard operating procedures and steering the building of the REACH-IT system necessary for ECHA to receive REACH dossiers and operate the REACH processes. The staff has grown from just a few last June to about 200 today, including staff members from nearly all EU Member States. The recruitment process and training of new employees has been and will ECHA-PR-08-11 remain a major activity for ECHA. Several training sessions have also be organised to train the trainers and helpdesk operators from Member States. Over 100 trainers across the EU have already participated in these sessions.

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