ENVI questions European Commission negotiators on TTIP
The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament invited Mr Klaus Berend - Head of Unit REACH at European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry - to discuss about the negotiations relating to the chemicals chapter under the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
The Committee on Environment, Health and Food Safety had already published a report on the potential impact that TTIP would have on ENVI policies.
Mr Berend introduced the topic of possible cooperation under TTIP stressing that the existing legal systems governing chemicals in the EU and in the US are very different and it is clear that going for an alignment or mutual recognition is not possible. He reiterated that the European Commission does not intend to lower the level of protection of the environment and health.
The European Commission negotiators see areas for possible cooperation under TTIP, mainly on the technical and scientific side, namely:
a. prioritising chemicals and assessing methodologies behind
b. EU requests the US to implement CLP UN system, comprehensively implemented in the EU
c. EU proposes to look at the emerging issues
d. Information sharing between regulators.
The ultimate level of protection of EU and US will want to afford to their citizens will remain untouched.
Two papers on cooperation were produced by the European Commission in order to explain the European position on chemicals and that the cooperation will be implemented within the existing procedures and deadlines (especially regarding the REACH deadlines).
In the Q&A session ENVI MEPs expressed their concerns about the TTIP lowering the European standards on chemicals and they pointed at the different approaches followed by the US and by the EU. If the first relies on the risk approach when evaluating chemical substances, the EU follows the precautionary principle, enshrined also in the EU Treaties (art.191.2 TFEU).
An additional report on the sustainability impact assessment of the TTIP will be published by ECORYS by the end of 2015.
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