Global game-changer? EU chemicals strategy could create watershed moment if ‘properly implemented’


The European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability has the potential to set an example to the world if concrete actions and legislative proposals build it out into something meaningful over the coming years, says the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

In October 2020, the European Commission (EC) adopted its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability​​ to further strengthen protection of human and environmental health. The strategy​​, part of the EC’s wider European Green Deal​​, proposed a phase out of the most harmful substances and a simplification of the risk assessment process around chemicals, among many other things.

The Commission said the overarching goal was to boost innovation for “safe and sustainable chemicals” ​– a broad goal supported by trade associations Cosmetics Europe and the UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), though both agreed details needed fleshing out.

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~sCosmetics Design Europe, 18 February 2021

~tNature protection: Commission is calling on POLAND to implement the Court of Justice ruling on nature protecting on the Bialowieża Forest

The Commission is following up with Poland to implement the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the country’s failure to fulfil its obligations under the Directives on Habitats (Directive 92/43/EEC) and Birds (Directive 2009/147/EC) as regards the protection of the Białowieża Forest. The Directives include various obligations for Member States including taking measures to prevent the deterioration of habitats and disturbance of species, verifying whether a project is likely to have a significant impact on a Natura 2000 site before authorisation, and establishing a system of strict protection for a number of species. The European Green Deal and the European Biodiversity Strategy also both indicate that it is crucial for the EU to halt biodiversity loss by protecting and restoring biodiversity.

In its judgment of 17 April 2018 the Court ruled against Poland for failing to ensure that the forest management plan for the Białowieża Forest District would not adversely affect the integrity of the Natura 2000 sites. Poland had also failed to establish the necessary conservation measures for the protected species and habitats, and to guarantee the strict protection of protected species and of birds regarding their deliberate killing or disturbance, or the deterioration or destruction of their breeding sites or nests in the Białowieża Forest District.

Poland has still not fully complied with the ruling. Most importantly, Poland has not repealed and replaced the annex to the forest management plan for the Białowieża Forest District, introduced in 2016, with measures which would preserve the integrity of the site, ensure conservation and protect the species and habitats. Actions envisaged by Poland are not in line with the Directives nor with the Court ruling. Despite meetings and exchanges at technical level, at which the Commission has expressed its concerns and offered advice on the correct implementation of the judgment, the situation in Poland has not changed.

The Commission is therefore asking Poland today by letter of formal notice to take all required measures to remedy the situation. Poland has two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may refer the case back to the Court of Justice of the EU with proposed financial sanctions.

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; European Commission, 18 February 2021