Sven Giegold
Member of the European Parliament – Greens/EFA Group

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

Our letters to the Commission: Chemical Strategy for Sustainability must not be weakened

Dear friends,
dear interested,

Recent press reports suggest that the European Chemical Strategy for Sustainability might be substantially weakened by the Commission’s Directorate-General for industry matters (DG GROW). Together with my colleagues Maria Arena (Social Democrats) and Frédérique Ries (Liberals) I have written letters to the Commission on this issue. Our letters addressed Commissioners Sinkevičius (responsible for DG ENVI) and Breton (responsible for DG GROW) as well as Commission Vice President Timmermans (responsible for the European Green Deal). We call on them not to let DG GROW’s proposals undermine the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability and invite Executive Vice-President Timmermans to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety to discuss the matter. You can find our letters below.

Currently, DG GROW and its environmental counterpart, DG ENVI, are negotiating the Commission’s internal position on the Chemical Strategy. The elements brought forward by DG GROW severely undermine the priorities of DG ENVI for the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. Should the position of DG GROW be dominant in the final version of the strategy, this would represent a dangerous change of narrative that goes against many ambitions that are strongly promoted in the European Green Deal. The economic future and the competitive advantage of the chemical industry in Europa will be green.

Maria Arena, Frédérique Ries and I have been co-shadow-rapporteurs for the European Parliaments strong resolution on the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. The text of the resolution can be found here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/B-9-2020-0222_EN.pdf

With green European greetings,
Sven Giegold

 

P.S.: INVITATION to the webinar: European chemical industry: Transformation for people and planet on Tuesday 1 September 10am – 12:30pm. Together with my colleague Jutta Paulus, we will discuss our priorities for a sustainable chemicals policy with EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, representatives from BASF, civil society and other guests. Join us and register right here: Registration

 

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Our letter to Executive Vice-President Timmermans:

Dear Vice President,

We are writing to you as co-rapporteurs of the European Parliament’s Resolution on the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. We are reaching out to you in the light of the various press articles published in the past days showing the severe disagreements between the different services in the European Commission, and more especially between DG GROW and DG ENVI on the inter-services negotiations on the Chemical Strategy for sustainability.

We are very worried to see that the elements and comments brought by DG GROW are greatly undermining the priorities defined by DG ENVI for the Chemical strategy for sustainability and underlined on repeated occasions by Commissioner Sinkevičius. We welcome the draft prepared by DG ENVI and expect the final strategy to strike a balance between the positions of the different Commission services’ involved in the drafting of the strategy as well as with the priorities of the European Parliament on the matter, as underlined in its recent resolution of 10 July 2020.

These recent revelations notably show how some priorities that could bring a strong shift towards a better protection of health and the environment in the EU Chemical legislation are particularly threatened. Among these are the notion of a toxic-free hierarchy aiming at prioritizing prevention of harm and safe-by-design innovations, the consideration of the combined exposure to chemicals, the promotion of non-toxic production cycles in the framework of the circular economy, the move toward a more generic assessment of risks, and the reflection around the notion of essential uses.

Should the position of DG GROW be dominant in the final version of the strategy, this would represent a dangerous change of narrative that goes against many ambitions that are strongly promoted in the European Green Deal under your leadership. This goes beyond the issue of chemicals and questions broader objectives of the Green Deal such as the zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, the new circular economy action plan and the biodiversity strategy. Therefore, the success of the Green Deal will greatly depend on the level of ambition of the Chemical strategy for sustainability and your support will be crucial to balance the internal negotiation between the different services of the Commission.

We would like to kindly invite you for an exchange of views in the ENVI committee in early September to discuss this crucial topic before the final draft of the strategy is adopted. An official invitation will follow soon.

Sincerely yours,
MEP Maria Arena, MEP Frédérique Ries, MEP Sven Giegold

 

Our letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius:

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing to you as co-rapporteurs of the European Parliament’s Resolution on the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. We are reaching out to you in the light of the various press articles published in the past days showing the severe disagreements between the different services in the European Commission, and more especially between DG GROW and DG ENVI on the inter-services negotiations on the Chemical Strategy for sustainability.

We are very worried to see that the elements and comments brought by DG GROW are greatly undermining the priorities defined by DG ENVI for the Chemical strategy for sustainability and underlined on repeated occasions by yourself before the Parliament. We welcome the draft prepared by DG ENVI and expect the final strategy to strike a balance between the positions of the different Commission services’ involved in the drafting of the strategy as well as with the priorities of the European Parliament on the matter, as underlined in its recent resolution of 10 July 2020.

These recent revelations notably show how some priorities that could bring a strong shift towards a better protection of health and the environment in the EU Chemical legislation are particularly threatened. Among these are the notion of a toxic-free hierarchy aiming at prioritizing prevention of harm and safe-by-design innovations, the consideration of the combined exposure to chemicals, the promotion of non-toxic production cycles in the framework of the circular economy, the move toward a more generic assessment of risks, and the reflection around the notion of essential uses.

Should the position of DG GROW be dominant in the final version of the strategy, this would represent a dangerous change of narrative that goes against many ambitions that are strongly promoted in the European Green Deal. This goes beyond the issue of chemicals and questions broader objectives of the Green Deal such as the zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, the new circular economy action plan and the biodiversity strategy. Therefore, the success of the Green Deal will greatly depend on the level of ambition of the Chemical strategy for sustainability. We therefore ask you to strongly stand by the priorities put forward by DG ENVI in the negotiations with DG GROW so as the essence of the strategy is not lost.

Sincerely yours,
MEP Maria Arena, MEP Frédérique Ries, MEP Sven Giegold

 

Our letter to Commissioner Breton:

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing to you as co-rapporteurs of the European Parliament’s Resolution on the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. We are reaching out to you in the light of the various press articles published in the past days showing the severe disagreements between the different services in the European Commission, and more especially between DG GROW and DG ENVI on the inter-services negotiations on the Chemical Strategy for sustainability.

We are very worried to see that the elements and comments brought by DG GROW are greatly undermining the priorities defined by DG ENVI for the Chemical strategy for sustainability and underlined on repeated occasions by Commissioner Sinkevičius. We welcome the draft prepared by DG ENVI and expect the final strategy to strike a balance between the positions of the different Commission services’ involved in the drafting of the strategy as well as with the priorities of the European Parliament on the matter, as underlined in its recent resolution of 10 July 2020.

These recent revelations notably show how some priorities that could bring a strong shift towards a better protection of health and the environment in the EU Chemical legislation are particularly threatened. Among these are the notion of a toxic-free hierarchy aiming at prioritizing prevention of harm and safe-by-design innovations, the consideration of the combined exposure to chemicals, the promotion of non-toxic production cycles in the framework of the circular economy, the move toward a more generic assessment of risks, and the reflection around the notion of essential uses.

Should the position of DG GROW be dominant in the final version of the strategy, this would represent a dangerous change of narrative that goes against many ambitions that are strongly promoted in the European Green Deal. Therefore, the success of the Green Deal will greatly depend on the level of ambition of the Chemical strategy for sustainability. We hereby ask you for a reaction on these elements concerning the inter-services negotiation on the Chemical Strategy for sustainability. Can you guarantee that you and the services under your responsibility will work in cooperation with other Commission’s services for the Chemical Strategy to be a true game changer that champions together safe and innovative industries rather than polluting ones, as well as health and the environment?

Sincerely yours,
MEP Maria Arena, MEP Frédérique Ries, MEP Sven Giegold