Recast of Regulation 850/2004 on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

EESC opinion: Recast of Regulation 850/2004 on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Key points:

  • The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the Commission proposal which aims to recast the POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) regulation in order to ensure coherent and effective implementation of the EU's obligations under the Stockholm Convention.
  • The Committee points out that in the EU, the placing on the market and use of most POPs have already been eliminated. However, due to the extremely dangerous impact of POPs on human beings and the environment, the manufacturing of such substances must be banned and exemptions restricted to specific applications. For this reason, the EESC encourages the Commission to establish stricter control measures, in line with the precautionary approach and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
  • The EESC endorses the proposal to transfer tasks from the Commission to ECHA in order to establish a more appropriate setting in which to provide administrative, scientific and technical support for implementation. Nevertheless, the Committee flags up the need to establish a solid working method involving the Commission, ECHA, Member States and stakeholders.
  • The EESC recommends proper and limited use of delegated acts in order to maintain open dialogue with all stakeholders, with a specific focus on public awareness and transparency.
  • The EESC encourages the EU to be a global leader in the fight against POPs. EU action should be focused on harmonisation of national strategies and legislation for POPs monitoring and control, In particular, the Committee believes that the EU should promote sustainability and the upholding of POPs provisions in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
  • The Committee supports the proposal to organise a broad awareness campaign on POPs at EU level in the framework of sustainable development. The EESC consider considers that an open data bank on POPs could be a useful tool for enterprises and consumers.
  • The EESC remarks that training courses on POPs should be compulsory and available for all European workers whose jobs are directly or indirectly related to these substances. In particular, the EESC recommends that education and training initiatives should be harmonised and considered part of the same strategy according to a life-long learning approach.