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Il-Ħamis, 9 ta' Lulju 2020 - Brussell Edizzjoni riveduta

14. Strateġija għas-sostenibbiltà fir-rigward tas-sustanzi kimiċi (dibattitu)
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  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Anfrage zur mündlichen Beantwortung an die Kommission über die Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie für Chemikalien von Maria Spyraki, Maria Arena, Frédérique Ries, Sven Giegold, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Pietro Fiocchi, Anja Hazekamp im Namen des Ausschusses für Umweltfragen, öffentliche Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit (O-000044/2020 – B9-0013/2020) (2020/2531(RSP)).

 
  
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  Maria Spyraki, author. – Madam President, with this motion for a resolution, the European Parliament calls on the Commission to proceed with the chemicals strategy for sustainability. Chemicals are everywhere. They are in our food, in our water, in our clothes and in our cosmetics. They are in the air that we breathe. In other words, they affect all aspects of our daily life.

Our first priority is to upgrade the level of protection of the consumer and the environment. For this reason, we are asking for the elimination of risk-hazardous substances and substitutions to safer alternatives when it’s feasible. We call on the Commission to take into account the risk posed by endocrine disrupters and the combination effect of different chemicals.

Commissioner, we are focusing on a very ambitious target by aiming to set the chemical safety standard for the entire world. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) should support the EU’s international trade policy by defining provisions and fostering regulatory systems built upon EU standards for chemical safety. This would enhance protection beyond the EU borders and extend the level playing field. Chemicals are also the industry of industries. A size—based grouping approach will enable the industry, in complementarity with the ‘one substance, one assessment’ principle. This strategy must also grant sufficient time for the industry’s manufacturers in order to deliver safe and performing products and incentivise the EU industrial production and economy. In this regard, the strategy should secure adequate funding to accelerate the development of innovative and safe alternatives. The strategy should also ensure that unnecessary animal tests are avoided, incentivising the development of smart testing strategies and artificial intelligence methods.

However, everything is not dependent on this House. Everything is not dependent on Brussels and on Brussels’ political will. That’s why we also have to increase the level of implementation of the existing EU legislation on chemicals, asking the Member States to fully implement the current legislative framework in order to provide a safe and sustainable environment as well as a competitive European market. In this strategy, we have three critical allies – the three agencies: ECHA, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Firstly we must avoid overlap between these three agencies. Secondly, we have to secure their adequate funding by providing additional resources.

I would like to conclude with the need for the chemicals strategy for sustainability to be aligned with the two main aspects of the Green Deal. The first one is green and the second is digital. In this regard, we fully support ECHA’s initiative to promote the establishment of a fully-connected and interoperable EU chemical safety database platform to facilitate the seamless sharing of data between authorities and to provide public access to researchers, regulators, industry and the citizens at large.

Κυρίες και κύριοι συνάδελφοι, Επίτροπε, κυρία Πρόεδρε, η στρατηγική για τα βιώσιμα χημικά μπορεί να οδηγήσει τη γενιά μας και τα παιδιά μας σε ένα μέλλον με λιγότερα προβλήματα. Μπορεί να οδηγήσει τη βιομηχανία σε βιώσιμες λύσεις με πολύ χαμηλότερες επιπτώσεις στο περιβάλλον. Αρκεί τα χημικά προϊόντα που εισάγονται από τρίτες χώρες στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να έχουν ακριβώς τις ίδιες προδιαγραφές με αυτά που παρασκευάζονται και καταναλώνονται στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Η αγορά είναι παγκόσμια και το στοίχημα για τα βιώσιμα χημικά αφορά τον πλανήτη, αφορά τη ζωή μας.

 
  
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  Virginijus Sinkevičius, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, today’s debate and the resolution you will adopt tomorrow on the upcoming chemical strategy for sustainability come very timely and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to reply today to the issues you raise in your oral question and to give you a brief update on where we are with this strategy.

As announced in the Commission’s Work Programme for 2020 – we have updated recently to respond to the corona pandemic – the chemical strategy is planned for the third quarter and we are currently working towards an adoption at the end of the third quarter this year. Internal discussions and preparatory work are still ongoing, so I’m sure you will understand that the information I can provide today remains general and that I cannot yet go into any details of the upcoming strategy.

The chemical strategy for sustainability is one of the key deliverables of the Green Deal and one of the priorities, of course, within my portfolio this year. When we adopted the Green Deal last December we all agreed to ensure a toxic-free environment. The strategy had a twofold objective. First, it should help to protect citizens and the environment better against hazardous chemicals and it had to encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. This twofold objective has guided our internal preparatory work from the very beginning and has also made it clear from the very start that to better combine health and environmental protection, and increase global competitiveness, all parties and stakeholders have to work closely together.

This also applies, of course, to the Commission, which is why my services, my team and I are preparing the strategy in a very close cooperation with many other DGs, Cabinets and Commissioners involved in this very horizontal, I would say, topic.

I appreciate that in the resolution that you will adopt tomorrow you equally acknowledge this horizontal character of chemicals. You highlight both the need to act towards a safe and sustainable use of chemicals, but also the essential role of the chemical sector in reaching the multiple targets of the Green Deal, such as the zero-pollution ambition, climate neutrality, energy transition, the promotion of energy efficiency and the circular economy.

Let me already thank you for the considerable work and effort you have put into this important resolution which, as I said, comes very timely. Once adopted, we will examine it very carefully and take it into account when finalising our chemical strategy over the next weeks. We will, of course, also take into account the over 400 comments and contributions we received from stakeholders and citizens on the roadmap for the chemical strategy, which was published for feedback from 9 May until 20 June of this year.

Let me now provide you with some more elements on our upcoming chemical strategy for sustainability. The strategy is based and will build on a number of policy evaluations and previous initiatives linked to the EU chemicals legislation and in particular the second REACH review from 2018, the fitness check of chemicals legislation from 2019, the Communication on endocrine disrupters from 2018 and the Communication on options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation from 2018.

To reach our main objective, the strategy will particularly focus on the following five elements. First: strengthening legislation for higher health and environmental protection from hazardous chemicals. Despite the great achievements of EU chemicals legislation, we urgently need to step up action, in particular to better protect vulnerable groups, to address the combined effects of chemicals, to tackle endocrine disrupters and persistent substances.

Second: boosting innovation and competitiveness. We need to incentivise the development of safe and sustainable production and use of chemicals. The transition to ‘safe and sustainable by design’ represents a major opportunity for the EU’s innovation and competitiveness. At the same time, a strong and sustainable EU industry is an important asset for the EU to contribute to global sustainability. We also need to support the recovery from the economic crisis, build resilience and ensure strategic autonomy in the supply of essential chemicals in Europe, for instance for health applications or technologies critical to achieve climate neutrality, digital transition, clean and safe material cycles and zero pollution.

Third: streamlining the existing framework. Our legislative framework is overall fit for purpose, but also complex, and in some cases inconsistent and slow. This is a challenge for both stakeholders and authorities. We have the opportunity to rationalise and simplify and make it more effective, including by moving towards a ‘one substance – one assessment’ process. Insufficient enforcement and poor compliance are also major bottlenecks, preventing existing legislation from attaining its full potential.

Fourth: intensifying research and knowledge on the impacts of chemicals on health and the environment, but also ways to better process and share this data and information for regulatory use, but also for consumer information or industrial use in the supply chain. One key area is the tracking of hazardous substances in articles to achieve non-toxic material cycles and ultimately a circular economy.

Finally, strengthening the global dimension. It is important that the EU becomes more and more an example worldwide of standards on sound management of chemicals to strengthen international standards and support third countries in the safe production and use of chemicals.

Once the final chemical strategy for sustainability has been adopted by the College, I will, of course, be happy to come back and present it to you and I already look forward to working very closely with you to implement it, because the work will, of course, not finish with the adoption of the strategy, quite the contrary. For now, let me thank you for your attention and I look forward to the views of the political groups.

 
  
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  Pernille Weiss, for PPE-Gruppen. – Fru formand! Klimaet og miljøet kan snart ikke mere! Samtidig vokser klodens befolkningstal, der er flere munde, der skal mættes. Også her har EU en helt særlig opgave som "first mover" for bæredygtige plantebeskyttelsesprodukter. Det var Kommissionen faktisk selv inde på, da I kom med jeres udspil til en europæisk grøn pagt sidste år, og det har vi i PPE-Gruppen ikke glemt. Derfor giver vi jer nu en beslutning, hvor vi opfordrer jer til at fremlægge en kemistrategi for bæredygtighed snarest muligt. En af de vigtigste ingredienser heri er at gøre fast- track-registreringen af lavrisikopesticider til et reelt fast-track. Det nytter jo ikke, at det kun ligger i navnet. Europæiske virksomheder opfinder jo i disse år både flere og mere bæredygtige plantebeskyttelsesprodukter til gavn for miljøet og folkesundheden, men registreringen, den halter, og dermed kommer de nye, miljøvenlige løsninger ikke ud til landmændene, hverken i Europa eller i resten af verden, og det er simpelthen ikke i orden! Gør nu fast-tracket til et ægte fast-track! Det skylder vi kloden og de munde, der skal mættes, men også vores innovative landmænd, som ofte får på puklen for at være skyld i miljøets stressede tilstande. Det er ikke fair, og det er rent faktisk heller ikke fornuftigt!

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. – Madame la Présidente, dans sa communication sur le pacte vert pour l’Europe, la Commission a annoncé son ambition «zéro pollution» pour un environnement exempt de substances toxiques. Dans ce contexte, la réduction de l’exposition aux produits chimiques dangereux est bien sûr un enjeu majeur et l’ensemble des législations régulant les produits chimiques doit être le rempart pour les citoyens et l’environnement, face au risque majeur que représentent certaines de ces substances.

Au travers de notre résolution, le Parlement formule un message clair et ambitieux, d’abord pour une mise en œuvre complète de la législation existante, mais également pour une évolution de la législation sur de nombreux aspects. Des mesures fortes pour la santé et l’environnement sont nécessaires et nous devons absolument prendre nos responsabilités en la matière. Nous voulons que ce soit la santé qui passe avant les intérêts économiques de certaines industries.

Qu’est-ce qu’une chimie durable? Il faut adopter des critères précis pour la définir, sans quoi la chimie durable ne sera qu’un concept que les industries utiliseront pour «greenwasher» leurs activités, au détriment de la santé des citoyens. Une chimie plus durable, ce n’est pas une chimie qui assure toujours plus de revenus aux actionnaires de l’industrie chimique, c’est une chimie qui intègre pleinement les objectifs de santé publique et de sauvegarde de la biodiversité. Cela passe avant tout par la réduction des dangers liés aux produits chimiques, en remplaçant les substances les plus dangereuses par des alternatives sûres, par une transparence accrue du processus d’autorisation, qui intègre aussi les coûts sociaux et environnementaux, notamment pour les substances chimiques persistantes.

Le coût, aujourd’hui, de l’industrie chimique par rapport à la santé, c’est 160 milliards d’euros par an. Si ces coûts étaient pris en charge par l’industrie, je peux vous assurer que le remplacement par des substances alternatives irait beaucoup plus vite. C’est donc c’est vers cela que nous devons nous diriger.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries, au nom du groupe Renew. – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, notre résolution vous fixe un cap aujourd’hui: le cap pour la stratégie durable pour les produits chimiques, que la Commission va donc nous présenter – à vous écouter – avant la fin de l’année, avec un objectif que nous partageons, bien évidemment, celui de renforcer la protection de la santé des citoyens et de l’environnement, un objectif qui est ambitieux: 71 % des produits chimiques fabriqués dans l’Union européenne sont classés comme dangereux.

Alors la Commission – parce que nous avons bénéficié de certaines fuites – veut renforcer le cadre réglementaire, c’est une bonne nouvelle. Elle vise REACH, bien évidemment, en particulier, avec notamment une approche groupée pour les substances similaires afin d’accélérer l’évaluation des risques par notre Agence européenne des produits chimiques. Une petite chose à cet égard: cette logique par famille doit aussi s’appliquer à la procédure de restriction pour les substances dangereuses, les phtalates, pour ne citer qu’un exemple, interdits dans les jouets pour enfants, autorisés ailleurs.

Sont envisagés aussi par la Commission, nous dit-on, de nouveaux critères pour la gestion des risques. La législation européenne doit bien évidemment protéger contre les perturbateurs endocriniens, contre les neurotoxiques. Je pense ici aux très nombreux travailleurs qui, au quotidien, sont exposés aux solvants ou aux métaux lourds.

Enfin, il est essentiel d’agir contre les PFAS, ces composés perfluorés que l’on retrouve dans les mousses, dans les poêles Téflon – pour ne pas les nommer –, dans les emballages alimentaires. Les PFAS, parce que mobiles, parce que persistants, très persistants, sont un véritable danger pour notre santé.

L’Union européenne doit avancer, Monsieur le Commissaire, avec un phasing out de cette classe de près de 5 000 produits chimiques. Je note d’ailleurs, et je conclus ici, qu’en décembre dernier, le gouvernement hollandais a poussé la question, le débat, au Conseil. La fenêtre d’opportunité existe donc, nous devons la saisir.

 
  
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  Isabella Tovaglieri, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, io in realtà intravedo diverse criticità in questa strategia, a cominciare dall'approccio eccessivamente ideologico.

Se vogliamo infatti risultati concreti per l'ambiente non possiamo certamente demonizzare un settore come la chimica – un'eccellenza a livello europeo e italiano e soprattutto un settore già avanzato in materia di sostenibilità – gravandolo di ulteriori oneri insostenibili.

Senza un approccio pragmatico, infatti, rischiamo di colpire la chimica europea per poi trovarci a importare le stesse produzioni da fuori dell'Europa, proprio da dove gli standard che noi imponiamo non sono garantiti. È quindi un atteggiamento miope e dannoso per i lavoratori e le nostre imprese.

Non dimentichiamo poi l'importanza della rilocalizzazione in Europa delle imprese chimiche e delle loro produzioni, obiettivo da perseguire non certamente imponendo finte tasse green, messe solo per far cassa, ma attraverso strumenti che favoriscano il comparto, riportando in Europa capacità che abbiamo lasciato all'estero.

Senza pragmatismo e bilanciamento rischiamo quindi solo di penalizzare un settore strategico per tutta l'Europa, un settore che invece andrebbe sostenuto in modo attivo nella sua transizione verso una produzione ancora più sostenibile.

 
  
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  Sven Giegold, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar! Das Europäische Parlament fordert hier nicht weniger als einen Paradigmenwechsel in der europäischen Chemiepolitik – für unsere Gesundheit, eine giftfreie Umwelt und den zukunftsfähigen Umbau der Chemieindustrie.

Die Europäische Kommission muss eine Nulltoleranzstrategie gegenüber giftigen Chemikalien in der Umwelt fahren. Erst diese Woche, Herr Kommissar, wurden wieder neue Zahlen in Deutschland bekannt: Jedes fünfte Kind – und das ist alarmierend – ist durch Chemikalien in Alltagsgegenständen stark belastet. Die Belastung ist so hoch, dass bei jedem fünften Kind eine langfristige Schädigung nicht ausgeschlossen werden kann. Insbesondere hormonverändernde Chemikalien wie Bisphenol A und Co. und Ewigkeitschemikalien wie PFAS müssen als Gruppe verboten werden.

Ambitionierte Chemiepolitik schützt aber nicht nur unsere Kinder. Sie ist auch eine Chance für eine europäische Industrie, die die Zukunft nicht verschläft. Saubere Chemie in Europa kann nicht nur eine saubere Umwelt für Mensch und Natur auf den Weg bringen, sondern auch 1,2 Millionen zukunftsfähige Chemiejobs stabilisieren. Herr Kommissar, wir erwarten eine ambitionierte Strategie von Ihnen.

 
  
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  Pietro Fiocchi, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, as a shadow rapporteur, I’m sorry to say that I am not in agreement with a lot of the compromise amendments. If all the amendments are approved, the regulation will be extremely punishing, especially for the small and micro enterprises. I’m very familiar with this matter, given my 35 years as an entrepreneur with strong experience in the REACH regulation, occupational safety and health, CoP regulation and producer responsibility.

There are some extremely problematic points, among which the juridical nightmare of a regulation that wants to change another regulation like the CoP and occupational safety – this is an extremely complex and expensive burden on the effects of combined or multiple chemicals which is very difficult to handle. The introduction of the concept of ‘no data, no market’ is very dangerous for a lot of smaller companies and the impossibility of finding better alternatives to banned substances in a short time. I’m a strong believer in the concept of banning dangerous substances, but the direction this regulation has taken will create massive competitive disadvantages for all EU companies, especially the small ones. Again, the focus is on the companies which are already heavily regulated, and nothing is said about what comes out of private homes.

 
  
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  Anja Hazekamp, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Madam President, I would say to the Commissioner that it is our right to have a non—toxic environment, but we are sadly miles away from that. Still, workers in the EU and the rest of the world are dying at an age much too young, only because of the dangerous chemicals they were exposed to simply by turning up at work. Still, pollinators, one of the most essential links in our ecosystem, are dying because of the dangerous pesticides we are spraying on our fields. Still, babies are exposed to endocrine—disrupting chemicals just by playing with the toxic toys we let them play with. And still, millions of animals are suffering horribly in laboratories as a result of outdated and cheap practices they even dare to call science.

Even though the EU has some decent legislation in place to protect its citizens against exposure to the most dangerous and hazardous chemicals, those chemicals are still exported to other parts of the world.

I am glad that the Commissioner has promised us a zero—pollution ambition for a toxic—free environment. With this resolution, the European Parliament is giving the Commission some homework: to ensure that the Chemical strategy for sustainability lives up to our expectations. We have no time to waste. I urge you, Commissioner, to deliver the toxic—free world we all desperately need and deserve.

 
  
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  Virginijus Sinkevičius, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank the Members for their interventions and for the important points they raised, many of which are also reflected in the resolution they will adopt tomorrow. I take very good note of these points and the views expressed and we will duly consider them when finalising the strategy over the next weeks.

My objective with this strategy is very clear: it’s to set out a vision for a comprehensive framework and a very concrete roadmap for action, where all parties should work together.

The COVID-19 crisis has clearly increased the urgency to step up action in the chemicals area. We have to ensure the protection of our citizens, support the socio-economic recovery of European industry and also promote our strategic autonomy for those chemicals which are important to society and health.

This strategy will be delivered as the very first step towards a zero—pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, with the action plan to follow in 2021. It will also complement other objectives under the Green Deal, notably to protect biodiversity and to move towards climate neutrality – at the end of the day, a huge contribution to a circular economy. The strategy will also support other priorities of the European Commission, such as the digital transition strengthening the European Union’s competitiveness, fighting cancer, and many others. Its horizontal character makes it so relevant, and we will need joint efforts and the constructive involvement of all stakeholders to implement it and make it a success on the ground.

I am counting on your support in this regard and I look forward to continuing the close cooperation with you on this important policy.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. – Gemäß Artikel 136 Absatz 5 der Geschäftsordnung wurde einen Entschließungsantrag eingereicht.

Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung über die Änderungsanträge findet heute, Donnerstag, 9. Juli 2020, und die Schlussabstimmung morgen, Freitag, 10. Juli 2020, statt.

Schriftliche Erklärungen (Artikel 171)

 
  
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  Johan Danielsson (S&D), skriftlig. – Det råder ingen tvekan om att det behövs en kemikaliestrategi för hållbarhet. I dag dör arbetstagare helt i onödan av arbetsrelaterad cancer som går att undvika. Det är helt oacceptabelt. Människor ska aldrig dö av sina jobb. Det är korrekt att arbetsmiljöaspekter nämns i resolutionen om kemikaliestrategin, men det är långt ifrån tillräckligt. Kommissionen behöver inkludera en noll-vision för arbetsrelaterad cancer i strategin. Därtill bör man arbeta för en ambitiös revidering av direktivet om carcinogener och mutagena ämnen (CMD) och anta bindande gränsvärden för yrkesmässig exponering för 25 extra prioriterade cancerframkallande ämnen under CMD senast till år 2024.

Vidare bör kommissionen också se till att kemikalier som finns i produkter eller används i arbetet måste riskbedömas tillsammans med fackliga representanter och redovisas på ett lättillgängligt sätt för arbetstagarna. För att skydda arbetstagares hälsa och säkerhet bör de på regelbunden basis få en genomgång om hanteringen av kemikalier. Det är egentligen ganska självklart. Målsättning måste vara en bra och hälsosam arbetsmiljö för alla som arbetar. En undermålig arbetsmiljö får aldrig vara en konkurrensfördel. Här måste EU gå i bräschen och säkerställa att företag som utsätter arbetstagare för livsfara inte kommer undan.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), în scris. – Susțin aceasta rezoluție deoarece, este necesar ca, la nivelul UE, să avem o strategie pentru promovarea sustenabilității în domeniul substanțelor chimice, în baza căreia să se revizuiască legislația, care este esențială pentru a trasa direcția în ceea ce privește inovarea pentru tranziția către un sector al substanțelor chimice sigur și sustenabil, iar investițiile pe termen lung pentru obținerea unui mediu înconjurător fără substanțe toxice trebuie să fie dimensionate adecvat. Noua strategie ar trebui să fie coerentă cu celelalte obiective de politică ale Pactului verde și să le completeze, în special cu obiectivele Legii climei, ale planului de acțiune privind economia circulară, ale noii strategii industriale pentru Europa și ale planului european de combatere a cancerului, precum și cu noua situație a economiei europene după pandemia de COVID-19. De asemenea, pentru a promova sustenabilitatea în domeniu, trebuie să sprijinim implicarea tuturor părților interesate, astfel încât nimeni să nu fie lăsat în urmă.

 
Aġġornata l-aħħar: 22 ta' Settembru 2020Avviż legali - Politika tal-privatezza