CHEMICALS : AMENDED LEGAL BASIS FOR EU RATIFICATION OF ROTTERDAM CONVENTION.
Sent back to the drawing board by the European Court of Justice in January, the European Commission presented a new proposal for a Council Decision on the 30 May on the ratification by the European Community of the Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure in international trade in certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides, amending the legal basis of the Decision currently in force (1).
This first Decision, proposed by the Commission in January 2002 on the basis of Articles 133 (trade policy) and 300 (Council's capacity to conclude agreements with third parties) and adopted by the Council on the basis of Article 175 (environment policy), was challenged by a Court of Justice ruling passed down on 10 January 2006, overturning Regulation EC/304/2003 on its transposition into EU law, adopted on the same basis. (2)The Court recalled at the time that the choice of legal basis for an EU act must be based on objective grounds withstanding legal scrutiny regarding notably the aim and content of the act.
Where it can be established that an act pursues several objectives concurrently or consists of several unavoidably linked components, such an act should be based on the various corresponding legal bases. The Court concluded that that, regarding its aims and content, the Regulation and the Decision on which it is based contain both trade and environmental components linked so inextricably that use of both Articles 133 and 175 appears unavoidable. The Rotterdam Convention effectively has a dual mandate of regulating international trade in dangerous products and protecting the environment and human health.
Since these two texts are already in force, the Court ruled that 'efforts should be maintained pending the adoption within a reasonable timeframe' of new regulatory texts. The draft Decision presented on 30 May constitutes the first phase in this review.
The Rotterdam Convention entered into force in February 2004, becoming legally binding in all the member states that had ratified it. Its requirements for labelling and information on potential health and environmental effects ensure that countries can take informed decisions on which potentially dangerous substances (currentlya28 pesticides and 11 industrial chemicals) they are ready to accept or bar entry and those which they are not in a position to manage safely. Among those covered are polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and terphenyls (PCT) and tris (2,3 dibromopropyl) phosphate, several forms of asbestos, 2,4,5-T, aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, lindane, mercury compounds, pentachlorophenol and methyl-parathion.
(1) Report available at: http://ec.europa.eu/health-eu/index_en.htm (Rotterdam Convention signed by the European Community on 11 September 1998 and approved on its behalf by Council Decision 2003/106/EC, OJ 2003,L 63,p27)
(2) (case. C-178/03 - see Europolitics 3021)
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Jun 7, 2006|
|Previous Article:||INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY : WIND TURBINE MANUFACTURER IN APPEAL AGAINST OHIM OVER 3D MARK.|
|Next Article:||JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS : ASSET-RECOVERY OFFICE NETWORK TO BE SET UP.|