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Report on the second meeting with the European Commission in the European Ombudsman's own-initiative inquiry OI/2/2016/RH regarding delays under the REACH Regulation

Налични езици :  en
  • Случай :  OI/2/2016/RH
    Открит на 2016-2-16 - Решение от 2017-7-18

Report

on the second meeting in the European Ombudsman's own-initiative inquiry OI/2/2016/RA regarding delays under the REACH Regulation

Institution or body concerned: European Commission

Date and time: 18 January 2017, 13:00 - 14:30

Location: Avenue de Beaulieu 5, 1160 - Auderghem, BU-5 4/25

The Ombudsman represented by:

  • Ms Rosita Hickey, Strategic Inquiries Unit
  • Mr Fergal Ó Regan, Coordination of Public Interest Inquiries Unit
  • Mr Pieter van der Ploeg, Strategic Inquiries Unit

The European Commission represented by:

       7 persons (DG ENV, DG GROW, SG)

 

1. Introduction

The Ombudsman and Commission representatives introduced themselves. The Ombudsman representatives thanked the Commission for having requested the meeting, which the Commission said it had done in order to fully understand the points set out in the Ombudsman’s letter to President Juncker, dated 21 December 2016. The Commission representatives expressed surprise at the fact that the Ombudsman was considering a finding of maladministration on a matter that they believed had, thus far, not been addressed in the inquiry.

The Ombudsman representatives explained the reason for the Ombudsman’s letter: before making any possible finding of maladministration, the Ombudsman felt it was important to obtain the Commission’s views on the point in question, namely, the fact that the Commission did not individually contact all registrants whose cases were pending before it to request them to check and, if necessary, update their registration file. The Ombudsman representatives stated that if there were valid reasons which would justify this potential omission, the meeting — and the Commission’s written reply — offered an opportunity to put them forward.

More generally, the Ombudsman’s representatives explained that the inquiry concerned delays in the handling, under the REACH Regulation, of compliance check files and proposals aimed at testing the reproductive toxicity effects of over 200 chemicals. [1]

2. Exchange of views

The Commission representatives explained that the objectives of REACH to protect human health and the environment were important to them and they are very much aware that non-action may have a consequence. They further set out the reasons why they did not consider it to be legally required, reasonable, feasible or helpful to contact registrants individually. They explained that they would set out those reasons in detail in the written response to the Ombudsman. In response to questions from the Ombudsman representatives, the Commission explained in greater detail the sequence of events leading to the preparation of the draft Commission implementing decisions on the pending files. The Ombudsman representatives noted that it would be useful for the Commission to set this out in detail to the Ombudsman in its reply, with emphasis on the period between July 2015 and January 2016.

The Commission representatives provided an update on the most recent developments in processing the pending cases and outlined the expected timeline for adopting the decisions. Again, they noted that this would be set out in the Commission’s reply to the Ombudsman.

Both the Commission and Ombudsman representatives expressed the view that the meeting was useful in clarifying issues falling within the scope of the inquiry.

Brussels, 15/03/2017

Ms Rosita Hickey

Head of Strategic Inquiries Unit

 

[1] The letter opening the inquiry is available here: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases/correspondence.faces/en/64026/html.bookmark.