This is what delaying the REACH revision actually means
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This is what delaying the REACH revision actually means

A couple of weeks ago, the EU Commission announced that the revision of the REACH regulation will be delayed. Instead of the first months of next year, the revision is now planned for the last quarter of 2023. It might not sound like such a big deal, it’s just a couple of months. But the truth is that these months make all the difference in the world. Let us break it down for you.

In essence, it all boils down to whether or not the European Parliament will have enough time to go ahead with the REACH revision before a new EU Commission is elected in 2024.

This is important because to ensure that the revision goes in line with the European Green Deal and its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, it needs to be done by the current Commission. And it needs to be done as ambitiously as promised. What the priorities for the next EU Commission will be, we don’t have a clue about.

The clock is ticking
If the European Parliament would be presented with the proposal in time to do a so-called “first reading”, the next EU Commission would have to continue along the same line as what is being carved out by the current one. Otherwise, the next Commission can cut out large important chunks and change REACH revision significantly.

“If the proposal is presented by the Commission in the last quarter of 2023, the Parliament won’t have enough time”

If the revision proposal is presented by the EU Commission in the last quarter of 2023 — as they have announced — the European Parliament won’t have enough time.

The current Parliament’s term ends in May 2024, and a few months prior to this the parliamentarians will put all the ordinary work aside and focus solely on the upcoming elections. And since they need a couple of months to organise themselves and the work — and seeing as it’s a pretty large proposal — the REACH revision will most probably be put in a drawer somewhere for the next EU Commission to eventually pick up and dust off.

The Commission has, however, very clearly stated that the REACH revision proposal will be presented as soon as it’s ready. They’re not going to wait until Q4 of next year just for the sake of it.

It needs to be done by next summer
So, with this in mind, we urge the Commission to move forward and present the REACH revision proposal by next summer. This would both give the Commission more time than they had originally planned for to work on the proposal— Q2 instead of Q1 — and enough time for the Parliament to do a first reading.

And we are many that want to see this happen.

“REACH is in desperate need of a revision, and this must be decided on before the next EU elections”

Both Member States as well as the European Parliament have voiced very strong and clear support for the REACH revision to move forward within the mandate of this EU Commission. A lot of companies are also expecting the revision to be decided on soon since many of them have already started to work along the lines of the chemicals strategy on which the REACH revision proposal is based.

REACH is in desperate need of a revision, and this must be decided on before the next EU elections. As it is now, the regulation does not manage to effectively phase out the most harmful chemicals. Nor does it give sufficient support to producers of alternatives or incentivise the transition to safer chemicals.

The Commission needs to deliver the REACH revision proposal by next summer to give the Parliament enough time to do a first reading. And it needs to be in line with the chemicals strategy.

This is the only way to secure a progressive chemicals regulation in Europe.