On 22 March 2018 the European Commission adopted a proposal that updates the Regulations’ provisions on reporting and monitoring by streamlining, simplifying and automatising the processes and thus reducing the administrative burden on Member States. A new role is given to the European Chemicals Agency in the area of POPs. The Agency will be expected to provide scientific support and assist the Commission in the coordination and management of technical and administrative tasks under the Regulation and the Stockholm Convention on POPs. The involvement of the Agency is expected to further improve the contribution of the Union to achieving the global objective under the Convention to protect human health and the environment from adverse effects of POPs.
The Commission’s proposal updates the regulatory procedures on comitology of the POPs Regulation to bring them in line with the procedures relating to delegated and implementing acts in the Lisbon Treaty. In order to improve clarity and consistency with other relevant Union legislation, certain definitions will be introduced or clarified and terminology aligned with that used in Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH).
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic (carbon-based) chemicals that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in organisms, are very toxic and are capable of being transported over long distances through natural atmospheric and oceanic processes. Due to those characteristics, POPs are not just an issue within the EU but are of global concern. The Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (‘the Convention’) addresses that global concern by aiming to eliminate the production and use of listed chemicals that have been identified as POPs at international level.
Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘the POPs Regulation’) currently implements the commitments of the EU as a Party to the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants. However, the legal basis for the comitology committee of the POPs Regulation was revoked by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the ‘CLP Regulation’) with effect from 1 June 2015. In order to ensure that the EU continues to comply with the obligations under the Convention and proper functioning of the POPs Regulation, the Commission proposes a recast of that Regulation with the principle aim of aligning the regulatory procedures.