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26-02-19 - Mark Macaré

FINAT Public Affairs Blog #8

With the end of term of the current Commission coming up in 2019, we see a push to finalize a number of key dossiers by the sitting Commissioners. A clear example is the so-called Single-Use Plastic Directive, which I reported on previously. On 19 December, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union reached a provisional agreement on the measures proposed by the Commission to tackle marine litter and ban the most-littered Single-Use Plastic products.

The Agreement marks one of the fastest finalised proposals in recent years.

A key topic that has been on everybody’s mind, but is still shrouded in uncertainty, is the “B-word” – Brexit! This unprecedented situation is resulting in headaches for industry, with no firm or final guidance available with less than 40 days until 29 March. Especially from a perspective of supply-chains for chemicals, many companies, including FINAT members, stand to be impacted. With a possible no-deal Brexit, UK companies buying chemicals from the EU would become importers under a UK equivalent of REACH, whereas any company in the EU buying chemicals from the UK would become an importer under REACH with the corresponding registration requirements. Unfortunately, while these scenarios are relatively clearcut, there are many other possible scenarios and we advise members to keep a close watch on developments.

Meanwhile, CEFIC, the UK authorities and the European Chemicals Agency have updated their guidance to reflect the current understanding. UK authorities have indicated they will introduce a transitional period, providing time for companies with registration obligations under UK REACH to settle in, whereas ECHA has set up a so-called Brexit window to allow companies to transfer registrations between 12 and 29 March.

Still, many companies will be reminded of the purported Chinese curse: ”May you live in interesting times”.

Meetings in November, December, January and February

5 December

Downstream Users of Chemicals Platform meeting (CheMI), Brussels
The halfyearly meeting to discuss the latest developments in chemical legislation and its impact on end-users, as well as to coordinate efforts to improve legislation for the downstream-user industry.

10-14 December

BREF STS finalization meeting, Sevilla
A meeting to finalize the BREF STS document together with Member State representatives, the Joint Research Centre and industry representatives.

8 January

BREF STS follow-up call
A call to handle follow-up actions resulting from the meeting in Sevilla.

22 January

BREF STS and ESVOC meeting, Brussels
A meeting to discuss follow-up steps and further required input, as well as kicking off the renewed ESVOC platform for industries using solvents.

29 January

REACH Cross-Sector Group
A meeting to discuss developments in REACH implementation and regulation, with a primary focus on the impact of Brexit and the work of the European Chemicals Agency on a database for substances in articles.

14 February

UVFoodSafe meeting
A meeting to continue the work of the UVFoodSafe project and its subgroups. Discussions primarily focused on follow-up testing for UV sensors and the impact of different variables, such as ink coverage on the process, as well as evaluation of options for inline evaluation of ink cure and potential follow-up activities.

Upcoming meetings in March and April

19-20 March

FINAT Committees, Amsterdam

4 April

European Paper Recycling Council, Brussels
In this meeting, we’ll discuss the upcoming recycling awards, as well as guidance concerning deinkability of various printing processes.