Lisbon, Portugal – Changes to proposed Reach regulation and a new European Commission later this year are adding uncertainty to the date of isocyanate restriction in the EU.
That was a key message from Jorg Palmersheim, secretary general of Isopa, the trade body for diisocyanate and polyol producers. He was talking at at the recent EuroPUR meeting in Portugal.
'At the moment, voting is scheduled for September 2019,' Palmersheim said. 'But,this has already been postponed three or four times. [The Commission] will never, ever vote if they do not feel they will get a majority.'
EU member states objected to the commission's original proposal, and there is no clear majority for the revised plan.
The the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) submitted restriction proposals to the EC in 2017. ISOPA and downstream trade associations toured member states, and told them of their concerns. ISOPA wants harmonised EU training, and member states to recognise each other's training.
The EC has listened and made changes. 'Industry's role has been completely taken out. In the original text industry was central,' he said. 'It devised training courses and ensured satisfactory completion. The ECC now leaves it with each member state to set their own requirements. They will also have to report their progress to the EC after six or seven years.'
The next Reach committee meeting is being held in July, 2019, but it is difficult to predict when the voting will take place. It could be in 2020. The new Commission is set to be appointed later this year, which could also have an impact on the process.