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Monday, 15 December 2008 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Toys Directive (debate)

  Karin Riis-Jørgensen, on behalf of the ALDE Group. (DA) Mr President, first of all I would like to offer my sincere thanks to our rapporteur for the Toys Directive, Mrs Thyssen. Marianne, you have produced a very efficient, professional and effective piece of work. I would also like to thank the Council and our girl from the French Presidency: well done! My thanks also go to the Commission for its flexibility in very quickly finding common ground for the text we have before us today.

The whole process of preparing the Toys Directive has been enlightening, both for me and also for my colleagues present here this evening. From a position of wanting to prohibit all chemicals and all fragrances, we have surely all learnt that nothing is black and white. I have become more aware of what is possible and what, conversely, makes the production of toys impossible. Therefore, my starting point for the work on this directive was that we should be strict, while of course being fair. I think that the proposal we have in front of us is extremely reasonable. There are significant improvements on the current rules for toys, although those rules do date back to 1988. I think that we have reached compromises with the Council and the Commission which mean that we can be satisfied and, most importantly, that children can continue to play and manufacturers can continue to make toys, but safe toys.

From the significant improvements in the new proposal I would like to highlight the fact that we now have clear rules for the use of chemicals and fragrances. That we have clarified which substances can be used is important, as these could be endocrine disrupters, carcinogens or allergens. However, we must not prohibit all substances if it is not necessary from the point of view of health, as in doing so we would prevent the production of children’s bicycles, for example. Yes, you did hear right! If we were to prohibit all chemicals we would no longer be able to put tyres on children’s bicycles, and we surely do not want that, despite everything. I therefore repeat: we must be strict, but fair.

I would also like to bring up our trilogue negotiations, in which we were unable to reach agreement on the legal basis with regard to noise, books and third party certification. I therefore very much expect, Commissioner, that the very clear statements from the Commission concerning these three issues will be followed through, and we in Parliament will follow up on this. I hope that we will get a clear majority in the House on Thursday, and I look forward to it.

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