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#romania2019.eu/Environmental ministers discuss sustainable EU chemicals policy strategy

Grațiela Gavrilescu

The agenda of the meeting of the EU environment council held in Luxembourg on Wednesday, included a discussion on the management of chemicals, according to a press statement released by the Romanian Ministry of the Environment. 

The meeting was the last organised under the aegis of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council. The event, co-chaired by Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu and Minister of Waters and Forests Ioan Denes, brought together representatives of the relevant ministries of the EU member states, as well as representatives of the European Commission: European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete. 

"The agenda of today's Environment Council meeting began with a discussion on the management of chemicals and the adoption of the Council conclusions that give political guidance on the development of a sustainable EU chemicals policy strategy. The conclusions proposed by the Romanian presidency emphasise the need to protect human health and the environment through the sound management of chemicals. They also highlight the need to improve and mainstream the chemical risk assessment and management of chemicals across EU legislation in order to increase the coherence and effectiveness of EU chemicals-related legislation. The conclusions highlight the need to develop a relevant mechanism for coordinating the protection of vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. This should include the introduction of consistent risk management requirements into relevant EU legislation on substances of concern, including neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors," reads the statement. 

Gavrilescu pointed out in context that these conclusions provide a clear direction for European Union legislation regarding the strategy of chemicals management, with emphasis on the protection of human health and the environment through a strategic approach management of chemical substances. 

"We also agreed on the need to improve and integrate the risk management approach of chemicals in all European environmental legislation to increase its coherence and efficiency," said Gavrilescu. 

Another item on the agenda was the findings of the 2019 Environmental Implementation Review cycle (EIR), which the ministers find useful in solving problems posed by their implementation. 

Gavrilescu presented at the end of the meeting the results of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council related to the environment. 

"I am extremely proud because important files have been successfully negotiated, such as setting the first CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy duty vehicles, tightening persistent organic pollutant rules and the LIFE programme. It was a real honour for me in these six months to co-chair the Environment Council meetings and together with the whole team of the Romanian presidency to advance topics of great importance to our citizens and our future," said Gavrilescu.

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