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Parliamentary questions
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9 May 2016
E-003827-16
Question for written answer E-003827-16
to the Commission
Rule 130
Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (ALDE) , Jozo Radoš (ALDE) , Evžen Tošenovský (ECR)

 Subject:  Impact of REACH legislation on European space industry
 Answer in writing 

The REACH legislation has a negative impact on the European space industry because it makes provision for a ban on hydrazine (a propellant for spacecraft) and chromates (an anti‐corrosion substance). A ban on chromates is envisaged from 2017, after which they may only be used in Europe with special authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). In the case of hydrazine, a sunset date has not yet been set. For both substances, feasible alternatives are not yet available. Under the current REACH Regulation, the use of hydrazine as a propellant would in fact be authorised as an exemption owing to its use in a closed circuit with no release on European soil. In October 2012, Eurospace sent an analysis of this issue to the Commission, which indicated that it would reply with feedback. To date (April 2016), no such feedback has been provided.

1. This situation leads to a high degree of regulatory uncertainty and high costs for the space industry. What does the Commission intend to do about it?

2. When will the Commission provide feedback on the Eurospace formal position paper on the use of hydrazine as a propellant?

3. Does the Commission agree that any ECHA special authorisation framework would have to cover at least 10 years, bearing in mind the average lifecycle of space systems and the need to ensure predictability for the sector?

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