Strong Industry, Safe and Healthy Environment? Making Chemicals Safety Policy in the EU

Published 01 Nov 2006
Reference 5362
Industry Automotive Chemicals
Region Europe
Summary

In 2003, in response to pressures from environmental NGOs, scientists and perceived public opinion, the European Commission proposed a regulation requiring chemicals producers to prove the safety of some 30,000 substances that had come on to the market before 1981. As it made its way through the European Union's legislative process, this project (REACH) became one of the most controversial issues the EU had dealt with during the last decade, with the European chemicals industry mounting an increasingly intense campaign against provisions which it claimed would have a severe negative impact on chemicals production and employment in Europe.

Teaching objectives

The case aims to provide insights into the functioning of the decision-making process in the European Union, the balance of power between business interests and environmental NGOs, and the EU's capacity to generate policies that reconcile the goal of maintaining or developing a strong economy (in this case, chemicals industry) with that of promoting a safe and healthy environment.

Keywords
  • RD1106
  • AR2006
  • AR0607
  • IAF