Conclusions and recommendations
The total removal of all used asbestos and all asbestos containing products has to be a priority target of the European Union. The EESC encourages the EU to work with the social partners and other stakeholders to develop and share action plans for asbestos removal and management. Several EU Member States have developed registers of buildings containing asbestos. The other Member States should be encouraged to develop such registers.
The European Union should encourage Member States to launch specific action plans and road maps targeting the removal of all still existing asbestos resources taking the example of Poland.
The European Commission should consider opening access to its structural funds explicitly for asbestos removal plans. The European Commission is urged to undertake a study of existing national approaches and systems for the registration of asbestos as well as their financing. The EESC calls on the Commission to promote research and innovation to find sustainable technologies for the treatment and inertisation of waste containing asbestos with a view to their safe recycling, re-utilisation, and the reduction of their delivery to landfills.
The Commission should provide for effective measures to avoid the hazardous practice of delivering asbestos waste to landfills that are foreseen for general building refuse.
EU funding and MS incentives targeting better energy efficiency in buildings should be linked with the safe removal of asbestos from those buildings. The EESC calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the national authorities, to provide the necessary support for actions and initiatives aiming at ensuring the protection of the entire EU workforce, given that small and medium enterprises, which employ most of the European workforce, are particularly exposed as regards the implementation of health and safety legislation.
The EESC calls on the Commission to draw up programmes and awareness-raising activities on asbestos-related risks and the need for appropriate training for all staff likely to be affected by ACMs.
The EESC urges the Commission to amend Recommendation 2003/670/EC to reflect the progress of medical research and to include cancers of the larynx and ovary as asbestos-related.
EU institutions should disseminate best practices for the recognition of asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos victims associations must be organised.
Therefore, the EESC calls on insurance and compensation bodies to adopt a common approach to recognition and compensation of asbestos-related occupational diseases; calls for recognition procedures to be simplified and facilitated; recognises that, due to very long latency periods, asbestos victims are often unable to substantiate the causality of their occupational asbestos exposures; calls on the Commission to support conferences which provide asbestos victims’ groups with professional advice, and which provide support for their members.