Full text 
Procedure : 2020/2531(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0222/2020

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 09/07/2020 - 14
CRE 09/07/2020 - 14

Votes :

PV 10/07/2020 - 4
PV 10/07/2020 - 17

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
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Friday, 10 July 2020 - Brussels
Chemicals strategy for sustainability

European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (2020/2531(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular its Articles 168 and 191,

–  having regard to Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’(1) (the ‘7th EAP’) and its vision up to 2050,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency (the ‘REACH Regulation’)(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the ‘CLP Regulation’)(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals(7),

–  having regard to Directive 2004/10/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on the harmonisation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the application of the principles of good laboratory practice and the verification of their applications for tests on chemical substances(8),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides, and its subsequent amendments(9),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC(10),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products(11) (the ‘Cosmetics Regulation’),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 on mercury, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1102/2008(12),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the EU Ecolabel(13),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy(14), as a valuable instrument to monitor and tackle cross-border chemical pollution in surface waters,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain(15),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2017/2398 of 12 December 2017(16), Directive (EU) 2019/130 of 16 January 2019(17) and Directive (EU) 2019/983 of 5 June 2019 of the European Parliament and of the Council, amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work(18),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes(19),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 June 2019 entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Chemicals Policy Strategy of the Union’,

–  having regard to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 4 October 2019 entitled ‘More circularity - Transition to a sustainable society’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 10 December 2019 entitled ‘A New EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work: Enhancing the implementation of Occupational Safety and Health in the EU’,

–  having regard to the Commission’s political guidelines for 2019-2024, in particular to the zero-pollution ambition for Europe,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 entitled ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2018 entitled ‘A Clean Planet for all - A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ (COM(2018)0773) and to the in-depth analysis in support of this communication(20),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 March 2018 entitled ‘Commission General Report on the operation of REACH and review of certain elements - Conclusions and Action’ (COM(2018)0116) and to the accompanying staff working document,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 November 2018 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors’ (COM(2018)0734),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 November 2018 entitled ‘Review of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cosmetic products with regard to substances with endocrine-disrupting properties’ (COM(2018)0739),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 June 2019 entitled ‘Findings of the Fitness Check of the most relevant chemicals legislation (excluding REACH) and identified challenges, gaps and weaknesses’ (COM(2019)0264),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on regulatory aspects of nanomaterials(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(22),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme(23),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation(24),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 - Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2020)0102),

–  having regard to the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan presented by the Commission in February 2020,

–  having regard to the public consultation by the Commission on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan(25),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 on ‘The implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation’ (COM(2018)0032), and to the accompanying Commission staff working document (SWD(2018)0020),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European strategy for plastics in a circular economy(26),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on the implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009(27),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides(28),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides(29),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 April 2019 on a comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors(30),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(31),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on a global ban to end animal testing for cosmetics(32),

–  having regard to the United Nations Environment Programme report of 29 April 2019 entitled ‘Global Chemicals Outlook II - From Legacies to Innovative Solutions: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,

–  having regard to the European Environment Agency report of 4 December 2019 entitled ‘The European environment - state and outlook 2020’ (SOER 2020),

–  having regard to the study of August 2017 commissioned by the Commission entitled ‘Study for the strategy for a non-toxic environment of the 7th Environment Action Programme’(33),

–  having regard to the study published in January 2019 and updated in May 2019, commissioned by the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament and entitled ‘Endocrine Disruptors: From Scientific Evidence to Human Health Protection’(34),

–  having regard to the report of June 2019 coordinated by the Commission and its organising partner, the Danish Ministry for Environment and Food, entitled ‘EU Chemicals Policy 2030: Building on the past, moving to the future’,

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report 05/2020, ‘Sustainable use of plant protection products: limited progression measuring and reducing risks’,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (O-000044/2020 – B9‑0013/2020),

–  having regard to Rules 136(5) and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

A.  whereas the Commission has announced, in its communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal, the presentation of a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability by summer 2020;

B.  whereas the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should contribute to the proper implementation of the principles of Union policy on the environment as laid down in Article 191(2) TFEU;

C.  whereas the EU and its Member States have failed to meet goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls for sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and for a significant reduction in their release to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment by 2020; whereas substantial additional efforts are needed to reach goal 3 of the SDGs and to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination by 2030; whereas the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability can help reach the objectives of the SDGs;

D.  whereas the chemical, physical and toxicological properties of chemicals vary greatly; whereas while many of these substances which are an integral part of everyday life are not hazardous or persistent, some may persist in the environment and accumulate in the food chain and can be harmful to human health at low concentrations;

E.  whereas pollution from synthetic chemicals is a major and growing threat to public health and the environment; whereas for example, cancer linked to hazardous chemical exposure is the main cause of work-related deaths; whereas about 120 000 work-related cancer cases occur each year in the EU as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work, leading to approximately 80 000 fatalities annually(35);

F.  whereas regulation plays a key role in preventing harm from hazardous chemicals; whereas it is estimated that one million new cancers were prevented in the last 20 years partly due to the implementation of occupational safety and health legislation; whereas a 2017 study conservatively estimated the cumulative benefits of chemicals legislation in the EU as ‘in the high tens of billion Euro per year’(36);

G.  whereas a sustainable chemicals strategy must effectively reduce the exposure of humans and the environment to hazardous chemicals, and at the same time must enhance competitiveness and innovation in European industry;

H.  whereas chemical pollution causes losses to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and leads to the reduction of ‘ecosystem resilience’, i.e. the ability to resist damage and to recover, leading to rapid declines in animal populations;

I.  whereas on 26 June 2019 the Council called on the Commission to develop an action plan to eliminate all non-essential uses of perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) because of their highly persistent nature and the increased risks to health and the environment(37);

J.  whereas the European Environment Agency, in its report of 2020 ‘The European environment – state and outlook’, expressed growing concern about the role of chemicals in the deteriorating state of our environment and warned that the projected increase in chemical production and ongoing emissions of persistent and hazardous chemicals signals that the chemical burden on health and the environment is not likely to decrease and that current policies are not adequate to address a large number of chemicals;

K.  whereas a transition is needed towards producing chemicals that are safe by design, including using less hazardous chemicals along the entire life cycle of products, to reduce chemical pollution and improve the circularity of Europe’s economy; whereas the EU Circular Economy Action Plan needs to address toxic chemicals in order to meet these goals;

L.  whereas allowing banned substances or substances of very high concern (SVHCs) to enter the EU market through imported products from third countries is not in line with the goal of developing non-toxic material cycles;

M.  whereas it is welcome that the Commission is funding projects promoting innovative digital technologies to track chemicals along the supply chain (e.g. blockchain);

N.  whereas foetuses, infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and the poor are particularly susceptible to the effects of chemical exposure; whereas low-income households may be disproportionally exposed because they frequently live near important sources of releases, such as hazardous waste dumpsites and production facilities(38);

O.  whereas the Commission never delivered on its non-toxic strategy which was promised under the 7th Environment Action Plan; whereas it is now important that the Commission proposes an ambitious strategy that effectively minimises the exposure of humans and the environment to hazardous chemicals, and at the same time enhances competitiveness and innovation in European industry;

P.  whereas the studies commissioned by the Commission (e.g. in relation to the Non-Toxic Environment strategy and in the context of the fitness checks of REACH and of chemical legislation other than REACH) have identified important gaps in EU legislation for the safe management of chemicals in the EU, including inconsistencies at the level of sectoral legislation and insufficient implementation, and have outlined a broad set of measures that should be considered;

Q.  whereas these gaps and inconsistencies require legislative action to ensure the effective protection of human health and the environment against the risks posed by chemicals;

R.  whereas the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should be based on the latest independent scientific knowledge and methods, as well as addressing real-life exposures along the whole life cycle;

S.  whereas according to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, the Commission and the Member States must carry out an ‘independent, objective and transparent assessment’ of pesticide active substances and products, and the European Food Safety Authority must undertake an independent scientific review in line with Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 (the General Food Law);

1.  Welcomes the zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment; acknowledges the essential role of the chemicals sector in reaching the multiple targets of the Green Deal, notably the zero pollution ambition, climate neutrality, the energy transition, the promotion of energy efficiency and the circular economy, by offering innovative production processes and materials;

2.  Considers that any form of pollution needs to be prevented or reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and the environment in order to make it possible to live well, within the planet’s ecological limits;

3.  Considers that ensuring that all uses of chemicals, materials and products are safe, sustainable and circular by design is an essential upstream measure not only to protect human health, achieve a toxic-free environment (air, water, soil) and protect biodiversity, but also for achieving a climate-neutral, resource-efficient, circular and competitive economy;

4.  Calls on the Commission to come up with a comprehensive Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability to bring about the necessary paradigm shift to implement the zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, ensuring a high level of protection of human health, animal health and the environment, minimising exposure to hazardous chemicals, with particular regard to the precautionary principle and the effective protection of workers, minimising the use of animal testing, preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, and fostering innovation in sustainable chemicals, as the basis for a European strategy for a resource-efficient, circular, safe and sustainable economy, while strengthening the competitiveness and innovation power of the Union’s economy and ensuring security of supply and boosting employment within the EU;

5.  Underlines that the forthcoming Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability must also address the sustainable sourcing of materials and energy intensity in the production of chemicals throughout the supply chain, as well as health, social and environmental standards and human rights;

6.  Stresses that the new Strategy should be coherent with, and complementary to, the other policy objectives of the Green Deal, including the objectives of the Climate Law, the New Circular Economy Action Plan, the New Industrial Strategy for Europe, and the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, as well as the new context for the European economy after COVID-19;

7.  Stresses that the new Strategy should outline the sectors and ways in which the chemicals industry can contribute to these objectives, such as in clean energy, raw materials, sustainable transport, digitalisation and reduced consumption;

8.  Is of the opinion that the Commission should come up with a comprehensive strategy where sustainability is the key pillar, and which should contribute to the consolidation of all relevant policies, including those relating to chemicals, trade, tax, innovation and competition, and ensure their enforcement so as to attract investment into Europe and create markets for circular and low-carbon products;

9.  Highlights that the chemical industry is of significant importance for the European economy, and that the modernisation and decarbonisation of this industry is fundamental to achieving the objectives of the Green Deal; acknowledges that the chemical industry is able to provide multiple low-carbon solutions; emphasises the importance of developing the chemical industry in order to help deliver on the EU climate ambitions for 2030 and 2050; stresses that promoting safe and sustainable innovation is a key element in the transition from a linear to a circular and sustainable industry, which would give this sector a major competitive advantage;

10.  Considers that the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should achieve coherence and synergies between chemicals legislation (e.g. REACH, CLP, POPs, mercury, plant protection products, biocides, Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) legislation) and related Union legislation, including specific product legislation (e.g. toys, cosmetics, food contact materials, construction products, pharmaceuticals, packaging, Directive (EU) 2019/904 on single-use plastic products), general product legislation (e.g. eco-design, eco-label, upcoming sustainable product policy), legislation on environmental compartments (e.g. water, soil and air), and legislation on sources of pollution, including industrial installations (e.g. IED, the Seveso III Directive) as well as legislation on waste (e.g. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, End of life vehicles (ELV) Directive);

11.  Highlights that special attention should be paid to reducing overlaps between legal frameworks, and between tasks allocated to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA);

12.  Stresses that the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability has to be aligned with the hierarchy of actions in risk management that prioritises exposure prevention, phasing out of hazardous substances and substitution by safer alternatives when feasible over control measures;

13.  Stresses the need to reduce and prevent exposure to chemicals such as endocrine disruptors (EDCs), which have been shown to contribute to significant increases in chronic diseases and some of which can disrupt the immune system and its inflammatory responses, in the context of measures to improve public health and strengthen resistance to viruses such as SARS-CoV-2(39);

14.  Stresses that the Strategy should fully reflect the precautionary principle and the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay, as well as cornerstone principles of the European chemicals legislation such as the placing of the burden of proof on manufacturers, importers and downstream users, and that it should effectively apply those principles;

15.  Considers that Extended Producers’ Responsibility mechanisms would represent a good tool to implement the polluter pays principle while stimulating innovation;

16.  Stresses the need for ambitious objectives to increase the numbers of chemicals examined each year, especially concerning their EDC properties;

17.  Emphasises the fact that this Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should go hand in hand with the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy;

18.  Highlights that the new Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should be based on robust and up-to-date scientific evidence, taking into account the risk posed by endocrine disruptors, hazardous chemicals in imported products, and combination effects of different chemicals and very persistent chemicals, and that subsequent regulatory action, other than on scientific matters (e.g. hazard identification and hazard classification)(40), should be accompanied by impact assessments and should take into account the input of relevant stakeholders so to increase clarity over priorities;

19.  Stresses that a sustainable chemicals policy requires simultaneous action on several aspects: defining criteria for sustainable chemicals to drive investments to contribute to pollution prevention and control, improving tracing of hazardous chemicals in products and promoting their substitution by safer alternatives, and building alliances with key sectors to work on circular economy initiatives (e.g. the construction, textile, electronic and automotive industries);

20.  Reaffirms that all regulatory gaps and weaknesses in EU chemicals legislation should be eliminated, that the legislation should be fully implemented, and that the new Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should effectively contribute to the rapid substitution of substances of very high concern and other hazardous chemicals to the extent possible, including endocrine disruptors, very persistent chemicals, neurotoxicants, immuno-toxicants, and persistent organic pollutants, as well as tackling the combination effects of chemicals, nano-forms of substances and exposure to hazardous chemicals from products; believes the Strategy should also contribute to the effectiveness of control measures; reiterates that any ban on the chemicals referred to should take all aspects of sustainability into account;

21.  Reiterates its concern that legislation preventing the presence of chemicals in products, including imports, is scattered, is neither systematic nor consistent and applies only to very few substances, products and uses, often with many exemptions; calls on the Commission to present as part of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability an action plan to close the gaps in the current legal framework, giving priority to the products that consumers come into close and frequent contact with, such as textiles, furniture, children’s products and absorbent hygiene products;

22.  Recalls that by 2020, all relevant SVHCs, including substances with endocrine-disrupting properties of equivalent concern, must be placed on the REACH candidate list; emphasises that beyond 2020 efforts will be needed to detect possible further SVHCs and to continue to ensure full compliance of registration dossiers; calls on the Commission to rapidly phase out SVHCs;

23.  Considers that the new Chemicals Strategy should ensure that no chemical substance that has potentially negative effects on human health or the environment is placed on the market before the hazards and risks related to such a substance have been thoroughly assessed;

24.  Underlines the need for a clear commitment to securing medium and long-term funding for improved and independent research into green chemistry, based on safety-by-design to develop safe and sustainable alternatives, including non-chemical alternatives, and to promoting the substitution of harmful chemicals, where feasible, and safe and sustainable production, ensuring the adequate preconditions for safe and sustainable innovation and development of new and safer chemicals;

25.  Stresses that the chemical industry should participate widely in such funding;

26.  Underlines the need for a clear commitment to securing funds for human biomonitoring and environmental monitoring of impacts and exposure to chemicals in order to improve chemical risk assessment and management, as well as for improved sharing and use of local, regional, national and EU-level monitoring data between countries, sectors and institutions in relevant policy areas (e.g. water, chemicals, air, biomonitoring, health); stresses that human biomonitoring studies should be conducted with full respect for the relevant data protection legislation;

27.  Considers that scientific research should also take into account epigenetics while testing suspected toxicity; calls on the Commission to support this goal and to increase European coordination and action in the field of biomonitoring; highlights the need for research into underexposed issues such as endocrine-related cancers and the socio-economic consequences of endocrine disorders;

28.  Highlights the importance of sustainable research and innovation funding for improving the scientific understanding of the impacts of hazardous chemicals on the environment, health, biodiversity and eco-system resilience and for promoting research into improved methods of identifying hazards related to chemicals;

29.  Reiterates the need to minimise and progressively replace animal testing through an expanded use of new approach methodologies and intelligent testing strategies, including in vitro and in silico methods; calls for increased efforts and funds to this end with the aim of establishing fast, reliable and robust non-animal-based safety assessments in all relevant legislation, in addition to cosmetics; regrets the fact that there are still barriers to the usefulness and acceptance of alternative (non-animal) testing methods for regulatory purposes, owing in part to factors such as gaps in the available testing guidelines(41) and insufficient funding for the research and development of non-animal methods; requests that action be taken to remedy this situation;

30.  Considers that the best available science should be used as a benchmark for the validation of new approach methods, rather than outdated animal models;

31.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the validation and introduction of non-animal testing methods is accelerated considerably;

32.  Invites the Commission to explore the potential of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in order to accelerate the development of predictive toxicology tools to support innovation;

33.  Underlines the fact that the bans on testing on animals set by the Cosmetics Regulation must not be compromised by testing conducted under other legislation such as REACH;

34.  Considers that the Strategy should extend the use of generic risk assessment across legislation;

35.  Calls on the Commission to take all the necessary action to ensure that combination effects of chemicals are fully and consistently addressed across all the relevant legislation, including by reducing exposure and, where necessary, revising data requirements and developing new testing methods, preferably in accordance with methodologies agreed by EU agencies;

36.  Calls on the Commission to develop, in cooperation with ECHA, EFSA, the Member States and stakeholders, a methodology to take into account the combination effects of chemicals, including combined exposure to multiple chemicals as well as exposure from different sources, such as for example a mixture assessment factor, and to adapt legal requirements to address these effects in risk assessment and management across all relevant chemicals and emission legislation;

37.  Welcomes the application of the ‘one substance – one hazard assessment’ principle in order to better use the resources of the Union’s agencies and scientific bodies, avoid duplication of efforts, including testing, reduce the risk of diverging outcomes of assessments, speed up and bring consistency and transparency to chemicals regulation, and ensure enhanced health and environmental protection and a level playing field for industry, while taking into account the special situation of SMEs;

38.  Calls on the Commission to establish a fully connected and interoperable EU chemical safety database so as to facilitate the seamless sharing of data between authorities and provide public access to researchers, regulators, industry and the citizens at large;

39.  Underlines the need to reinforce cooperation and coordination between the European evaluation agencies EFSA and ECHA together with national agencies, by developing common guidelines for risk assessment, namely for biocidal and phytopharmaceutical products, which take into account the most recent scientific results, so as to avoid inconsistencies;

40.  Stresses the need for a more integrated approach towards assessing chemicals with similar hazards, risks or functions as a group; calls on the Commission, therefore, to employ a science-based grouping approach more widely, both in evaluation and subsequent regulatory action, in order to avoid regrettable substitution and reduce animal testing; stresses that the ‘one substance – one hazard assessment’ approach should neither contradict nor prevent the development of a grouping approach to assessing families as a whole;

41.  Calls on the Commission, with the support of ECHA, to provide a forum for analysing the benefits, drawbacks and feasibility of introducing a new scheme for testing chemicals, whereby safety studies would be conducted by certified laboratories/institutions, assigned within the framework of the regulatory process, with the costs covered by the applicants in order to respect the burden of proof placed on the companies;

42.  Considers that regulatory measures are needed to adequately protect vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant and breastfeeding women or elderly people; calls on the Commission to adopt a cross-cutting definition of vulnerable groups, and to propose, if appropriate, to adapt existing scientific risk assessment approaches accordingly, and to align to the highest standards the protection of vulnerable groups throughout all chemicals legislation;

43.  Calls on the Commission to devote particular attention to chemicals that accumulate and persist in bodies, those that are transmitted to children through pregnancy or breast milk, and those that can have effects across generations;

44.  Highlights the need to develop an effective mechanism to coordinate the protection of vulnerable groups by, for example, introducing consistent risk management requirements into the relevant pieces of EU legislation regarding substances of concern, including neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors;

45.  Considers that the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should contribute to a high level of protection for workers against harmful chemicals;

46.  Calls on the Commission to formulate a legislative proposal to include substances that are toxic for reproduction within the scope of Directive 2004/37/EC on carcinogens and mutagens at work so as to bring the directive into line with the way that carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMRs) are treated in other EU chemicals legislation (e.g. REACH and legislation on biocides, pesticides and cosmetics);

47.  Stresses the importance of requiring that applications for authorisation under REACH are also sufficiently precise with regard to the exposure to the substance concerned so as to be able to properly assess the risk and take adequate risk management measures, in particular for workers;

48.  Notes that occupational cancers are grouped together with all other cancers and are not generally identified as occupational cancers; condemns the fact that, according to several analyses, workers and their families bear almost all of the costs associated with occupational cancers; notes that occupational cancers are associated with extremely high costs for workers, employers and national social security systems; calls on the Commission to ensure the proper registration of work-related cancers and their causes;

49.  Emphasises the importance of comprehensive chemical hazard and safety information to be available to employers as they need to protect and inform their workers with the correct safety instructions, training and protection equipment and implement a good system of surveillance; calls for effective national labour inspections and sanctions for breaches of the safety requirements; encourages the setting up of prevention committees;

50.  Stresses the need to provide clear and understandable information about chemical substances to citizens, workers and businesses in all languages of the EU as well as the need to increase transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain;

51.  Calls for the Strategy to improve significantly the implementation of REACH, with regard to registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction, and to provide clarity on its interface with the OSH and CLP frameworks; reiterates the principle of ‘no data, no market’; insists that all registrations of substances have to be compliant as soon as possible; calls for the mandatory updating of registration dossiers, based on the latest available science, so that registrations stay compliant; calls for transparency with regard to compliance with registration obligations, and for ECHA to be given the explicit power to withdraw registration numbers in the case of continued non-compliance with any requirement; highlights the importance of running programmes between ECHA and the industry on a voluntary basis in order to improve registration dossiers beyond compliance; calls on the Commission to promote a framework encouraging such programmes;

52.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and ECHA to work together to include all relevant currently known substances of very high concern on the candidate list by the end of this year, as committed to by former Commission Vice-President Tajani and former Commissioner Potočnik in 2010 and as reiterated in a Commission roadmap from 2013(42);

53.  Calls on the Commission to properly apply REACH in line with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 7 March 2019 in case T-837/16 (Sweden vs. Commission on lead chromates);

54.  Calls on the Commission to respect the deadlines laid down in REACH, with particular regard to decisions related to authorisation or restriction;

55.  Stresses the importance of requiring that applications for authorisation are sufficiently precise with regard to the uses of the substance concerned so as to be able to identify the existence, or absence, of suitable alternatives;

56.  Calls for the restriction procedure to be improved by grouping substances and by clearly identifying and stating the scientific uncertainties of the risk assessment and the time required to generate missing information, and by considering the costs of inaction; calls for the level of evidence needed for issuing derogations to proposed restriction to be increased;

57.  Calls on ECHA to make publicly available the toxicological and ecotoxicological studies that are submitted by registrants and applicants;

58.  Calls on the Commission to propose extending the scope of the fast-track procedure under Article 68(2) of REACH related to consumer use to all substances of very high concern;

59.  Considers that the risk assessment, including evaluation, and risk management of substances need both to improve and speed up in general, with particular regard to the identification of carcinogenic and mutagenic substances in the light of the Commission’s commitment to fighting cancer;

60.  Calls on the Commission to improve tests covering endocrine disruptor modalities and endpoints; points out that while important tests are carried out (e.g. in the area of reproduction and effects on the thyroid hormone system), many of these tests have a low sensitivity and sometimes high variability, which makes their impact rather limited;

61.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to refrain from authorising substances and approving products with incomplete data sets about health and environment hazards, or if the applicant is not able to demonstrate that suitable alternatives do not exist, where this is a prerequisite for authorisation(43);

62.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that independent peer-reviewed scientific literature is fully considered and accorded the same weight as good laboratory practice (GLP) regulatory studies in the risk assessment process of all chemicals; highlights that this is an effective way to contribute to the reduction of unnecessary animal testing;

63.  Calls for clarification of the provisions concerning the registration of chemicals for intermediate uses under REACH, to apply only when the intermediate is transformed into another registered substance, and for systematic control of full compliance with REACH to be ensured;

64.  Calls on the Commission to enable fast, efficient and transparent regulatory control of harmful chemicals, and to develop and implement an early warning system to identify new and emerging risks so as to ensure a rapid regulatory follow-up upstream and quickly reduce the overall exposure;

65.  Considers that increased transparency on procedures and the properties of chemicals is a way to achieve a higher level of protection of human health and the environment; highlights that improvements must be made to transparency on registrants’ compliance, the production volume of chemicals, full study reports to justify the reliability of a robust study summary (RSS), and the mapping of the production and use of substances of very high concern;

66.  Stresses that the legislation on food contact materials (FCMs) should be revised in line with CLP and REACH in order to ensure a coherent, protective approach to the safety of materials and products that come into contact with food;

67.  Insists in particular on the need for comprehensive, harmonised regulation of all FCMs, which should be based on the precautionary principle, the principle of ‘no data, no market’, comprehensive safety assessments that address all the relevant safety and health endpoints and are based on the latest scientific data for all chemicals used in FCMs, effective enforcement and improved information to consumers;

68.  Calls for a phasing out of substances of very high concern in FCMs;

69.  Suggests that an inventory be swiftly devised collating the best practices of FCMs regulation at Member State level, including national measures to tackle exposure to endocrine disruptors and fluorocarbons;

70.  Calls on the Commission to ensure proper linkage between the revision of FCMs regulation, and the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Beating Cancer Plan;

71.  Is worried by the many inconsistencies in the Union legislation concerning persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances (PBTs) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative substances (vPvBs) as identified in the Fitness Check; calls on the Commission to come up with a clear action plan and, if necessary, legislative proposals on how to address all PBTs, vPvBs, and persistent and mobile substances, based on impact assessments and scientific knowledge, and within the established frameworks, while considering all relevant legislation and environmental media;

72.  Urges the Commission to set firm deadlines in the action plan on perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) so as to ensure the speedy phasing out of all non-essential uses of PFAS, and to accelerate the development of safe and non-persistent alternatives to all uses of PFAS as part of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability;

73.  Calls on the Commission to define the concept of and criteria for the ‘essential use’ of hazardous chemicals, taking the definition of essential use provided in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer as a basis, so as to provide a harmonised approach for regulatory measures on non-essential uses;

74.  Considers furthermore that substances that are neurotoxic or immunotoxic should be seen as being of equivalent concern to substances of very high concern under REACH;

75.  Reaffirms its call of 18 April 2019 for a comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors (EDCs) and, in particular, for the adoption of a horizontal definition based on the WHO definition for suspected EDCs as well as for known and presumed EDCs in line with the classification of CMRs in the CLP Regulation, for data requirements to be revised accordingly, for the overall exposure of humans and the environment to EDCs to be minimised effectively, for legislative proposals to be drawn up to insert specific provisions on EDCs into the legislation on toys, food contact materials and cosmetics in order to treat EDCs as CMRs, and for all the relevant legislation, including legislation on food contact materials, to be revised to substitute EDCs;

76.  Reaffirms its call of 14 March 2013(44) for testing methods and guidance documents to be developed so as to take better account of EDCs, possible low-dose effects, combination effects and non-monotonic dose-response relationships, in particular with regard to critical windows of exposure during development; stresses that EDCs should be regarded as non-threshold substances unless an applicant can scientifically demonstrate a safe threshold;

77.  Calls on the Commission to rapidly implement the recommendations of the Fitness Check of the most relevant chemicals legislation (excluding REACH) and to introduce new hazard classes in the CLP Regulation and in parallel in the Globally Harmonised System (e.g. for EDCs, terrestrial toxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, PBTs and vPvBs);

78.  Considers that substances that are persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) or very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) should be added to the REACH list of substances of very high concern;

79.  Calls on the Commission to prioritise the identification and regulation of chemicals of concern, such as CMRs and EDCs, including in its Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, especially for worker protection, as according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), cancer causes 52 % of all work-related deaths in the EU(45);

80.  Stresses that the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability should introduce the registration of polymers, extend the standard information requirements for substances between 1 and 10 tonnes to all such substances, strengthen information requirements on toxicological properties and on uses and exposure, inter alia by requiring a chemical safety report for substances between 1 and 10 tonnes, and improve the assessment of complex substances (e.g. substances of unknown or variable composition (UVCBs)), notably by supporting ECHA to develop further the solutions already put in place, such as Substance Identity Profiles); calls for the development of specific methods to assess this type of substance which allow for a solid scientific approach and are applicable in practice;

81.  Recalls the Union’s commitment to ensuring the safety of manufactured nanomaterials and materials with similar properties pursuant to the 7th Environment Action Programme and reaffirms its calls of 24 April 2009 for a revision of all relevant legislation to ensure safety for all applications of nanomaterials in products with potential health, environmental or safety impacts over their life cycle and for the development of adequate tests to assess the hazards of and exposure to nanomaterials over their entire life cycle;

82.  Calls on the Commission to clarify the conditions and criteria under which the use of biodegradable or compostable plastics is not harmful to the environment and human health, while taking into account all environmental compartments into which these plastics might be released and applying the precautionary principle;

83.  Calls on the Commission to finalise the review of the recommendation on the definition of nanomaterials, to revise that recommendation as necessary, and ensure that nanomaterials are consistently identified by a legally binding definition;

84.  Requests that the Commission ask ECHA on a regular basis to evaluate the performance and impact of the EU Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON);

85.  Calls for the full implementation of the plant protection products legislation; calls on the Commission to heed Parliament’s various calls of 16 January 2019 to improve the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides; calls on the Commission to accelerate Europe’s transition towards low-risk pesticides as defined by Article 47 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 and to reduce pesticide dependency by inter alia advocating and supporting the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) practices, to achieve the objectives of the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides and to translate the objectives of the latter into the relevant legislation, to improve statistics on plant protection products, to develop better risk indicators, to reduce the use of fertilizers to avoid soil depletion, and to support farmers in meeting these objectives;

86.  Considers that to ensure the protection of public health and a level playing field for European farmers, banned active substances should not enter the EU market through imported products;

87.  Calls on the Commission to take measures to speed up the development of low-risk plant protection products and to set up a target of 2030 for phasing out high-risk pesticides;

88.  Calls on the Commission to set specific targets to significantly reduce both the use of chemical pesticides and the risk arising from them;

89.  Underlines the worrying delay in the delivery of the review programme and the need to ensure faster and comprehensive safety (re-)assessment of biocide active substances, co-formulants and entire products – including for endocrine-disrupting properties – to ensure the protection of citizens’ health and the environment;

90.  Underlines the importance of transitioning to a truly circular and climate neutral economy and developing non-toxic material cycles; considers that articles made from virgin materials and those made from recycled materials should fulfil the same chemical standards; reaffirms that in accordance with the waste hierarchy, as defined in the Waste Framework Directive(46), prevention takes priority over recycling and that, accordingly, recycling should not justify the perpetuation of the use of hazardous legacy substances;

91.  Reiterates that the issue of products containing legacy substances of concern should be dealt with by means of an efficient tracking and disposal system;

92.  Reaffirms its position of 13 September 2018 on the options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation, and in particular that substances of concern are those that meet the criteria set out in Article 57 of REACH as substances of very high concern, substances prohibited under the Stockholm Convention (POPs), specific substances restricted in articles listed in Annex XVII to REACH and specific substances regulated under specific sectoral and/or product legislation;

93.  Considers that the disclosure of all non-confidential information on hazardous chemicals in articles along the supply chain to consumers and waste managers is a prerequisite to achieving non-toxic material cycles;

94.  Call on the Commission to develop comprehensive indicators on the impacts of chemicals on health and the environment, which would inter alia help to assess the effectiveness of chemicals legislation;

95.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that a user-friendly, transparent, mandatory and harmonised EU public information system on hazardous substances present in materials, articles and waste is swiftly established and made available in all languages of the Union as soon as possible;

96.  Points out that the Strategy should help the industry to reach climate neutrality and the zero pollution objective for a toxic-free environment, as well as support the good functioning of the internal market while enhancing the competitiveness and safe and sustainable innovation and production of EU industry, in line with the Green Deal and the New Industrial Strategy; stresses that the strategy should avoid unnecessary administrative burdens;

97.  Points out that the Strategy should help the chemical industry to reach climate neutrality and the zero pollution objectives through the development of new integrated value chains that combine agriculture and the chemical sector, as well as support the good functioning of the internal market while enhancing the competitiveness and innovation of EU industry;

98.  Calls for support to be given to SMEs, including technical support for the substitution of hazardous substances by safer alternatives, so as to help them comply with EU chemicals legislation and to move towards producing and using safe and sustainable products, by promoting research and development, investment in sustainable chemicals and technological innovation under Union programmes such as Horizon Europe;

99.  Stresses that chemicals legislation should be designed in such a way that SMEs are able to implement it without prejudice to the level of protection needed;

100.  Stresses that legislation providing regulatory stability and predictability is key to giving direction to the necessary innovation for the transition to a circular, safe and sustainable chemicals sector, including the sustainable use of renewable feedstock to support the bioeconomy, and long-term investments to achieve a toxic-free environment; supports stakeholders’ involvement in this regard;

101.  Highlights the need for Union chemicals legislation to provide incentives for safe and sustainable chemistry, materials (including plastics) and technologies, including non-chemical alternatives, that are safe and non-toxic by design;

102.  Emphasises, in this regard, that the Strategy should create opportunities for the scaling-up of clean technologies to meet the Green Deal targets;

103.  Stresses that the development of these technologies and the production of such chemistry should be incentivised within the EU;

104.  Calls on the Commission to develop EU criteria for sustainable chemicals based on a scientific proposal by ECHA; considers that these criteria should be complemented with product standards (such as the sustainable product policy framework);

105.  Calls on the Commission to incentivise safe and sustainable products and clean production and introduce and/or adapt economic instruments (e.g. fees, environmental taxes, extended producer responsibility) to achieve an internalisation of external costs throughout the life cycle of chemicals, including health and environmental costs, irrespective of whether their use occurs within or outside of the Union;

106.  Recalls that the income received by ECHA through fees will be substantially reduced; calls for the revision of ECHA’s financing model and for the introduction of a predictable and sustainable funding mechanism in order to ensure its proper long-term functioning and to eradicate any inefficiencies, notably those due to the separation of budget lines, providing the resources needed to meet the increasing demands on its current work and sufficient additional resources for any additional work required within the new multiannual financial framework, including staff within ECHA exclusively dedicated to animal protection and the promotion of non-animal methods across all ECHA activities;

107.  Calls on the Commission and Council to refrain from cutting ECHA’s resources in annual budget procedures and to provide ECHA with additional resources for any other tasks that may be required, such as conducting evaluations of substances;

108.  Calls for adequate staffing levels and budget for the Commission services tasked with ensuring the successful implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability; stresses that the allocation of resources must respond to both current and long-term political priorities and thus, in the context of the European Green Deal, expects a significant reinforcement of human resources in the Commission Directorate-General for Environment in particular and the relevant EU agencies;

109.  Calls for the full implementation of Union chemicals legislation; calls on Member States to devote sufficient capacities to improve the enforcement of EU chemicals legislation and for the Commission and ECHA to provide adequate support in doing so;

110.  Calls on the Commission to audit the enforcement systems in Member States with regard to chemicals legislation and to make recommendations for improvement, to strengthen cooperation and coordination between enforcement bodies, and to propose EU enforcement instruments, where necessary; calls on the Commission to make use of the powers granted under Article 11(4) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020(47) in order to ensure adequate testing of products across the Union;

111.  Believes that the Member States should receive clear guidance on how to strengthen their enforcement systems in the area of chemicals legislation and that coordination and cooperation between Member States’ enforcement bodies in this area should be reinforced; calls on the Commission to issue such guidance on the basis of an audit of enforcement systems and taking into account experience gained under the REACH Forum;

112.  Calls on the Commission to support the establishment of a European network of EDC-free cities and local communities with a view to improving cooperation and exchanging best practices, in the same vein as the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy;

113.  Calls on the Commission to take swift legal action when it establishes that EU chemicals laws are not being observed; recalls its observation of 16 January 2020(48) that procedures in the field of environmental infringements have to be more efficient; calls on the Commission to review its internal guidelines on infringement procedures and to use the opportunity of its forthcoming communication on better regulation to ensure swift and efficient enforcement of EU laws;

114.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that imported and exported chemicals and products abide by the same standards as those governing chemicals and products produced and used in the Union in order to ensure a level playing field between EU and non-EU manufacturers; considers that checks on non-compliance in the Union and at its borders should be enhanced, including through reinforced cooperation among customs authorities and the development of a specific digital tool for that purpose, taking into account experience gained in the context of the REACH Forum; welcomes the Commission’s long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules(49) and calls on the Commission to make full use of forthcoming proposals to ensure enforcement of EU chemicals laws;

115.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a thorough evaluation of Member States’ dependence on imports from third countries of chemicals in critical value chains such as those relating to active pharmaceutical ingredients, disinfectants etc., and any associated safety risks;

116.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop policies to facilitate and promote safe and sustainable chemical manufacturing back in Europe in strategic value chains such as those of active pharmaceutical ingredients and disinfectants, in order to regain control of this strategic area and reduce Europe’s dependence on third countries, ensure secure access and avoid medicine shortages, without undermining the rewards that open economies derive from international trade;

117.  Calls on the Commission to prohibit from all imports residues of non-threshold hazardous substances banned in the EU, as there is no safe level of exposure to them, and to apply the same maximum residue levels (MRLs) to other substances in imports as substances produced in the EU so as to ensure a level playing field between EU and non-EU manufacturers and farmers;

118.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support, politically and financially, all international structures and processes aimed at achieving sound chemicals management on a global scale;

119.  Calls on the Commission to recognise chemical pollution (including pesticides) as one of the key drivers of the biodiversity crisis and to come up with legal proposals in order to address the issues of persistent, accumulative and mobile chemical substances in the environment and their adverse effects on ecosystems and biodiversity;

120.  Stresses that the sustainability of chemicals must also include the social and environmental responsibility of chemicals industries and companies along their whole supply chains;

121.  Considers that the Union chemical safety standards should be promoted internationally;

122.  Calls on the Commission to continue working on a successor to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), including a reform of the Special Programme; calls on the Commissions to contribute to the negotiations for the development of an adequate, predictable and sustainable financing mechanism in that regard;

123.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(2) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 3.
(3) OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 167, 27.6.2012, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 169, 2.6.2019, p. 45.
(7) OJ L 201, 21.7.2012, p. 60.
(8) OJ L 50, 20.2.2004, p. 44.
(9) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71.
(10) OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 342, 22.12.2009, p. 59.
(12) OJ L 137, 24.5.2017, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 27, 30.1.2010, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 226, 24.8.2013, p. 1.
(15) OJ L 231, 6.9.2019, p. 1.
(16) OJ L 345, 27.12.2017, p. 87.
(17) OJ L 30, 31.1.2019, p. 112.
(18) OJ L 164, 20.6.2019, p. 23.
(19) OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, p. 33.
(21) OJ C 184, 8.7.2010, p. 82.
(22) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 65.
(23) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 10.
(24) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 146.
(26) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 136.
(27) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 183.
(28) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0023.
(29) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0082.
(30) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0441.
(31) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2020)0005.
(32) OJ C 41, 6.2.2020, p. 45.
(36) UN, Global Chemicals Outlook II: summary for policymakers.
(37) Council conclusions adopted on 26 June 2019, ‘Towards a Sustainable Chemicals Policy Strategy of the Union’, point 14.
(38) UN, Global Chemicals Outlook II: summary for policymakers.
(40) Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 16 December 2015 in case T‑521/14.
(41) Findings of the Fitness Check of the most relevant chemicals legislation (excluding REACH) and identified challenges, gaps and weaknesses (COM(2019)0264).
(43) As stated in the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 7 March 2019 in case T-837/16 (Sweden vs. Commission on lead chromates).
(44) European Parliament resolution on the protection of public health from endocrine disrupters (OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 85).
(46) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).
(47) Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011 (OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, p. 1).
(48) European Parliament Resolution of 16 January 2020 on the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0015).
(49) Communication of 10 March 2020, COM(2020)0094.

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