REACH: Industry more important than public interest

8 December 2006

REACH: Industry more important than public interest

The SP will vote next week against the directive introducing a new system of controls on chemicals, REACH. Explaining the decision, SP Euro-MP and European Parliament Environment and Public Health Committee member Kartika Liotard said, “This is one more example of power politics in which the interests of industry have been put before those of the general public.” Referring to the United Left Group/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), in which the SP’s members participate, she said that “My group together with the Greens will be submitting an alternative package of amendments.”

Kartika LiotardThe compromise that the Christian Democrats (EPP), Social Democrat (PES) and Liberal (ALDE) groups – the European Parliament’s three largest – under the leadership of the Italian social democrat Guido Sacconi, have agreed with the Council of Ministers is, in the SP’s view, unacceptable. “The Council can scarcely be said to have responded to the objections raised by the Parliament and on a number of points the compromise is worse than the previous proposal,” Ms Liotard said.

The SP’s most important objections to the compromise proposal are the lack of a general obligation to replace dangerous substances wherever an alternative exists, and the lack of a general obligation to inform consumers about dangerous substances other than those in the very highest category. In an alternative package of amendments which the SP will support at next week’s vote, these and other problems will be addressed.

“The present compromise unreservedly serves the chemical industry’s interests and plays fast and loose with the safety and health of the European public,” Liotard said. “From the lobbying war which has raged around this proposal over the last year the industry has clearly emerged as the winner, while environmental and health NGOs have been thrown a few insignificant crumbs. I can only conclude that the health of the people who elect them is of little interest to my colleagues in other groups, if they are really going to vote for this ‘compromise’.”

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