In early 2002 the European Union started a regulation program in order to simplify and improve the EU legislation. This program was enhanced in 2015 by the EU Commission and was named “REFIT”, which now serves as a regulatory fitness and performance tool in several regulatory fields. It ensures that EU law remains as simple and effective as far as possible.
Within REFIT, the EU starts a fitness check of the most relevant chemicals legislation excluding REACH Programme in fall 2019. During this review, the Commission checks whether the goals set out in the main chemical legislations have been met, and if so, what are the fields where even more simplification and efficiency can be achieved. The topic of chemical regulation is highly debated, especially because it forms an integral part of the discussion about climate change and future technologies. The reason for this, on one hand, is that such chemicals are necessary for human prosperity, while on the other hand they bear health and environment risks which should be addressed.
However, the fitness check is supplemented by a review, where the Commission outlines that “overall, the EU framework of chemicals legislation is fit for purpose and delivers a high level of protection”, although the rules contained within the chemical legislation are sometimes incoherent. The review also mentions other fields where improvement is needed, such as the quality and availability of information regarding the use, recovery and disposal of chemicals, or the duplication of some provisions in this respect, which places an excessive administrative burden on SMEs.
The review also outlines that in the history of the EU no deep evaluation has been made in this important area. The European Parliament, the Council and the relevant committees have been invited for further discussions, in order to broaden the representation throughout the debate.