Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-14-Speech-1-176"

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". Madam Chairman, let me thank Johannes Blokland for the excellent cooperation we have had throughout the process. It is ten years since the Rotterdam Convention was signed, and it was said then that prior written approval should be sought for the export of dangerous chemicals. After all we are not dealing with just any chemicals; the list of chemicals contains the most hazardous chemicals used by man on earth today. So it has taken ten years. One reason for that is the stubborn attitude of the old Commission which insisted that it was just a commercial matter. I thank Stavros Dimas for ensuring that we now have an appropriate legal basis and can take things forward. Nor was it always easy to negotiate with the Council. I was shocked when the Presidency thought that lethal chemicals, which are in practice banned in the EU, could be exported to other countries over periods without prior consent. The reason for this was that the Council did not want European industry to be at a competitive disadvantage. The real competitive disadvantage to our industry, however, would arise if it were forced to jeopardise health, the environment and international law in order to survive. It is absurd to claim that we have to breach international conventions just because others do not comply with rules and standards. You might as well say that the EU should export illegal drugs because, if it does not, the Mafia will. I am glad that we were able to agree in the end and finally plug the loophole for non-approved exports. We now have legislation which does not just cover Convention chemicals but also contains requirements for other chemicals which are strictly controlled in the EU. These must now be assessed against health and environmental criteria by the appropriate authorities prior to export. It is good that the period for exemptions has been shortened from 36 to 12 months. It is also good that chemicals contained in products are covered. Finally we have legislation which is acceptable and improves on the Commission’s proposal but could have been if public health and the environment had taken precedence over corporate interests; that is after all the only sustainable economic model."@en1
"even better"1

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