This paper analyses the Commission White Paper on a Strategy for New Chemicals Policy from a legal perspective.
In concentrating its efforts towards resolving the “burden of the past”, the White Paper does not provide the fundamental justification of the choice of a single system applicable to both new and existing chemicals and many uncertainties remain as to the scope and functioning of this system. Ensuring the coherency of the future legislation will require clarifying the fundamental legal nature and consequences of each phase of the proposed “REACH” system, and streamlining the REACH processes on the basis of centralised, efficient, and transparent decision-making processes.
The White Paper does not specify how the Commission intends to ensure that the new legislation preserves the internal market for chemicals, another fundamental objective of the reform. This will require that the new legislation be based on Article 95 of the EU Treaty, that it clarifies some of the grey zones of the existing chemical legislation, and that the Commission effectively enforces the internal market discipline with respect to those cases where national competencies remain.
Finally, efficacy will require the prioritisation of the scope of the REACH system to avoid duplication of efforts and a fundamental reflection on the interactions between the different EU policies and legislation affecting chemicals to ensure that the future chemical legislation is integrated and coherent.European Energy and Environmental Law Review