In an article published on July 2, 2019, by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, correspondent Clelia Oziel informed that “strong opposition from industry and an internal rift could signal the end of the European Commission’s [(EC)] long-overdue commitment to develop a non-toxic environment strategy, sources from the EU executive have said.”

The strategy was conceived in 2013 by the Directorate-General for environment under the 7th Environment Action Programme (7EAP). The work on its development has “encountered great resistance” from the Directorate-General for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow), which thought the strategy “would set an impossible goal for industry and hurt the EU’s competitiveness.” Due to this internal opposition as well as a continued criticism voiced by the industry, currently “few in the Commission’s ranks” are thinking that the EU’s non-toxic environment strategy “will ever materialize – at least not without some major changes to its title and scope,” Oziel summarized. In December 2018, the EC has already announced a delay in the publication of the EU’s non-toxic environment strategy until later in 2019, after the new office takes place (FPF reported).

The EC sources further explained that, since its conception six years ago, the strategy has become “outdated and irrelevant.” For example, it planned to tackle “endocrine disrupting chemicals, nanomaterials and combination toxicity, but significant inroads have already been made into these issues separately.” Therefore, the EC looks to develop something “deeper, wider and more ambitious,” the internal sources said.

The EC sources also mentioned that the industry “wants the [strategy’s] language changed to something less contentious, such as ‘non-toxic production processes in a circular economy.’” At the high-level conference that took place in Brussels, Belgium, on June 29-30, the director general of industry association Cefic, Marco Mensink, said the following: “We don’t need new legislation, we don’t need a non-toxic environment. Sorry, environment ministers, we don’t like the word and we don’t need it.”

The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) commented that the EC’s decision not to release the EU’s non-toxic environment strategy would be a “scandal.” Earlier, NGOs have already urged for a prompt publication (FPF reported).

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Clelia Oziel (July 2, 2019). “EU non-toxic environment strategy likely to be abandoned due to rift.Chemical Watch