"We don't know what will be in the [EU] chemicals white paper, but we still manage to be clear about what we want," one NGO source said. NGOs spelled this out in October (ENDS Daily 30 October), while Cefic outlined its own views in November (ENDS Daily 7 November).
The source added that Cefic had missed an opportunity to clarify its position on any number of contentious issues, including who should be responsible for assessing existing chemicals, deadlines for assessment and how much data should be required for each substance before it is declared safe.
Friday's meeting included speeches by Eva Hellsten, the official at the environment directorate of the European Commission who is in charge of chemicals policy, WWF and the European Environmental Bureau. Ms Hellsten challenged the chemicals industry to set out publicly its long-term vision of chemicals management.
* In a related development, work on overhauling EU chemicals policy continued last week, with a meeting between environment commissioner Margot Wallström and enterprise commissioner Erkki Liikanen. The aim of the discussion was to resolve differences in opinion and pave the way for final negotiations. Publication of a white paper outlining the Commission's proposal for a new chemicals policy has been delayed several times (ENDS Daily 6 June). An enterprise directorate spokesperson said today that the white paper would be ready for debate between commissioners by the end of January.
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