Pesticides (EU)

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 is the governing EU Law on the placing of plant protection products (pesticides and herbicides) on the European market – the PPP Regulation.

This is a useful Q&A document (2015) about the PPP Regulation – here.

A zonal system of authorisation operates in the EU to enable a harmonised and efficient system to operate.

The EU is divided into 3 zones; North, Central and South. EU countries assess applications on behalf of other countries in their zone and sometimes on behalf of all zones.

The PPP Regulation sets out the requirements, procedure and timeframes for authorisation of Plant Protection Products (PPPs).

Applicants, EU countries, the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) can be involved in the process of authorisation.

There are different types of application that can be submitted depending on the intended use of the PPP, the Member State(s) for which the PPP is required and the regulatory status of any existing authorisations.

Authorisations usually are time-limited and therefore come up again for review. The relevant EU body for the whole EU is the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF).

In March 2019, the non-renewal of the fungicide active substance chlorothalonil came up for review at SCoPAFF, and the decision was not to renew.

In December 2019, the non-renewal of two organophosphate active substances chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl came up for review at SCoPAFF, and the decision is not to renew (this decision is not yet published).

This means products containing the above active substances may not circulate in the European market, stocks may be used up for a short time, determined by the EU authorisation document that is issued for the active substance.

Brexit : as an EU Regulation, the PPP Regulation is adopted in the UK as Retained EU Law. Enacted Brexit Law (in force from Exit day) makes changes to the PPP Regulation to enable it to stand alone within the UK statute base.

DEFRA has made no announcements re reversing EU bans.

Carcinogens (EU)

2019 saw the second and third revisions of the European Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive Annex III (the list of substances for which exposure limits apply) agreed. I blog posted about the changes a while back, check the category Chemicals.

Member states have until dates in 2021 to implement the revisions in national law.

Ireland has now updated its local law, and Email Alerts to subscribers with Ireland (ROI) systems will see details in their November & December Email Alert dispatching tomorrow. Law Checklists are also being updated.

Subscribers with other EU26 countries in their systems will see details in their next 6-month Email Alerts. Law Checklists are being updated now.

Subscribers with UK nations in their systems will see advisory details in their January 2020 Email Alerts dispatching at the end of January 2020. UK Law Checklists will be updated ONLY if UK national law is updated. Note : UK includes Northern Ireland.

Brexit : since these revisions were agreed before the Exit day, it is expected (but not confirmed) that they will be applied in UK national law. But as a Directive, the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive is not a Retained EU Law, and there are no Brexit Laws applicable.

European Green Deal (EU)

11 December will see the incoming Commissioner (European Commission) for the Green Deal present a draft of a new environmental law (a new climate EU Law, part of the European Green Deal) to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) ahead of the 12/13 December Council summit.

European watchers have seen a draft version of the European Green Deal (also known as “Green New Deal”) – it comprises a summary of an early draft proposal – marked “for internal use only” – that was circulated to EU countries’ national representations in Brussels in order to get some feedback. European watchers describe the draft document as more like a shopping list, filled with numerous bullet points stacked under a series of headlines.

First in the list (in the draft European Green Deal document) is Europe’s objective of reaching climate neutrality, to be achieved by a European ‘Climate Law’ enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective, to be submitted by March 2020.

The European Commission 2050 long-term strategy is here.

And by October 2020, the draft says, the European Commission “will present a comprehensive plan on how to increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2030 to at least 50% and towards 55%”.

The European Commission 2030 climate & energy framework is here.

Credit Euractiv for the text below in italics that gives other details –

Further down, the Commission promises “mainstreaming sustainability” into all policies, by adopting “a green oath: ‘do no harm’”. In practice, Brussels will seek to eliminate “incoherent legislation that reduces the effectiveness in delivering the Green Deal”.

This includes financial aspects with a proposal to “screen and benchmark green budgeting practices” both at EU and national level. An “action plan on green financing” will be submitted in June 2020 in this regard. A review of “state aid guidelines for environment and energy” is also on the agenda.

Other widely-anticipated initiatives include a proposal to revise the Energy Taxation Directive with a view to “align it” with Europe’s climate ambitions. And while the Commission wants to “pursue efforts” to scrap the unanimity rule on taxation, there is no mention of the announced carbon border tax meant to protect industries like steelmaking from dumped Chinese imports.

Under the “zero-emission nobility” heading, the Commission plans to extend the EU’ cap-and-trade scheme for carbon emissions, to the maritime sector and reduce the amount of free pollution credits allocated to airlines.

Brussels will also “assess the possibility of including road transport emissions” in the scheme, a proposal which has long been resisted by environmental groups. And it plans to “withdraw and resubmit” proposals on the Eurovignette directive to charge heavy-duty trucks on European roads, a proposal which is currently stuck with EU member states in the Council of Ministers.

Under the ecosystem and biodiversity preservation heading, the Commission proposes to “review all existing legislation affecting agriculture and forestry to ensure it is in line with renewed climate and biodiversity ambition”.

And under the “farm to fork” strategy, the EU executive intends to adopt “a toolbox for alternatives to pesticides” and reform food information rules “to improve consumers’ information”.

Finally, the Commission aims to review air, water and chemicals legislation with a view to “eliminating all sources of pollution.”

Further Blog posts will be issued in due course on the various matters. Please look out for them.

European Parliament declares Climate Emergency (EU)

Ahead of the UN COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid 2-13 December, the European Parliament has today approved a resolution declaring a climate and environmental emergency in Europe and globally.

The adopted resolution will be available here.

The European Parliament also wants the European Commission to ensure that all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully aligned with the objective of limiting global warming to under 1.5 °C.

In a separate resolution, the European Parliament urges the EU to submit its strategy to reach climate neutrality as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest, to the UN Convention on Climate Change. This adopted resolution will be available via the above link.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also call on the new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to include a 55% reduction target of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in the European Green Deal.

In addition, MEPs say that all countries should include emissions from international shipping and aviation in their national contributions plans (NDCs), and they urge the European Commission to propose that the maritime sector be included in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EUETS).

Note – the European Commission has already proposed the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but the European Council has not endorsed it as some Member States are opposed.

Class Action in Consumer Protection (EU Law)

The Council of the EU today reached agreement on a draft directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers.

The draft directive is here.

The directive empowers qualified entities, such as consumer organisations, to seek, in addition to injunctions, also redress measures, including compensation or replacement, on behalf of a group of consumers that has been harmed by a trader in violation of one of the EU legal acts set out in an annex to the directive. These legal acts reflect recent developments in the field of consumer protection and extend to areas such as financial services, travel and tourism, energy, telecommunications and data protection, in addition to general consumer law.

Member states shall, for the purpose of representative actions for redress, be free to choose between an opt-in and an opt-out system. In an opt-in system, consumers will be required to express their wish to be represented by the qualified entity for the purpose of a particular representative action. In an opt-out system, consumers who do not wish to be represented by the qualified entity for the purpose of a particular representative action will be required to make a statement to that effect.

Member states will have 30 months from the entry into force of the directive to transpose it into national law, as well as an additional 12 months to start applying these provisions.

The directive will apply to representative actions brought after the date of application.

On the basis of the agreed text, the Council will start negotiations with the European Parliament with a view to exploring the possibility of an agreement for the swift adoption of the directive at second reading (“early second reading agreement”).

New European Commission (EU)

EU Commission President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission has been approved by a large majority of MEPs (elected Members to the European Parliament).

461 votes in favour, 157 against, 89 abstentions.

Accordingly, the European Parliament has approved the new College of Commissioners led by Ursula von der Leyen (the Commissioners and herself, it’s a confirmatory vote). Now the European Council has to give its approval by a qualified majority before the new Commission takes office on the 1st December.

More than 200,000,000 citizens voted in the European elections in May, giving a substantive mandate to the new European Parliament. The elections were the first step in a process that culminates with the approval today of the EU’s executive body, the European Commission.

The new Commission will take office on 1st December.

We can expect EU Law making to be up and running again shortly.

Ireland’s Phil Hogan is the Trade Commissioner (he will deal with the Trade Deal with the UK, when that time comes). The UK did not supply a Commissioner.

Single-Use Plastics Ban (EU)

In legal text (a Directive) adopted 27th March 2019, the European Parliament decided to address the matter of single-use plastics as follows :

(1) Single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to be banned by 2021

(2) 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029

(3) More stringent application of the “polluter pays” principle

Specifically the following Products will be banned in the EU by 2021 :

* Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)

* Single-use plastic plates

* Plastic straws

* Cotton bud sticks made of plastic

* Plastic balloon sticks

* Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

The Directive will also strengthen the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

In addition, the legal text agreed stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.

The Directive now needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers before it enters EU law later this year. Member States will have two years to transfer the legislation into national law.

The Press Release (European Commission) is here.

I will load the Directive (once in law) into subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

EU Brexit Preparedness (EU Brexit)

UPDATE : the EU Contingency measures are now enacted – here.

Notwithstanding any approach made by the UK to delay the exit date, the EU is stepping up Brexit Preparedness activities.

Here – is the link to the EU Brexit Preparedness online site. New here are the links to the National EU-27 online sites (scroll down the page). Plus under Legislative Initiatives in the middle, find the EU Contingency measures now ready as legislative acts or finalised COM documents. I have posted about these before. Note : these EU Contingency measures are unilateral time-limited measures.

In addition, the EU has today launched an online portal detailing all preparedness work and supports available for farmers and agrifood operators – here.

There are also some bi-laterals, these are not gathered in one online portal, please keep following the Blog as I post about those as they are known about.

Brexit Update (EU, UK, Ireland)

Yesterday was a series of votes in the UK Parliament on the matter. Monday, the day before, was an announcement from the UK, and today there are announcements from the EU.

UK

(1) New European Temporary Leave to Remain. This will apply to EU and EEA nationals arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019. Persons wishing to stay longer than three months must apply and be granted European Temporary Leave to Remain which will last three years (and is non-renewable). Persons wishing to stay or to arrive after 1st Jan 2021 must do so under the new UK skills-based immigration system (the legislation is before Parliament).

The European Temporary Leave to Remain applies is there is no deal. If there is a deal that has the transitional arrangements set out in the current deal (that is not yet ratified) then registration under EU rules will apply after 29 March 2019. There is no announcement to elaborate that system, yet.

(2) Yesterday’s votes in Parliament do not ratify the deal (Withdrawal Agreement and Future Partnership Declaration). A further vote will take place on 14th February. It is not certain if that vote will ratify the deal. I will Blog post again.

(3) there is also an announcement re healthcare as respects UK nationals living in the EU/EEA area and Switzerland, here. See here for the position vis a vis Ireland.

(4) I updated (on the Blog post itself) re the expedited customs procedures that are planned for imports from the EU/EEA. I posted about these recently. Note as presently planned, these will not apply to the international border on the island of Ireland.

(5) Further Brexit regulations are in draft form and enacted – see the Brexit Law List in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists.

EU

(1) the EU has a contingency plan and measures already published, and these are the Factsheets and Q&A here.

(2) today, the EU has published further measures, these deal with social security coordination, amongst other matters. And earlier the EU had issued measures to deal with Fisheries. The Press Release for today’s publication is here, and it has useful links from it.

Ireland

An omnibus bill of contingency measures is now published, here. Amongst other matters, this includes Healthcare.

EU No Deal Contingency Plan Update (EU Brexit)

As they promised, the European Commission has now published its update to its contingency plan for No Deal – 14 legal measures. This document is here.

(1) The Commission repeats its prior position – the EU no deal measures are unilateral, limited and temporary. Adds that they will not apply to Gibraltar.

(2) Re UK nationals in the EU Bloc, the Commission repeats its prior position that they should get residence permits. Silence re acquired rights.

(3) The Commission will issue guidance on social security coordination.

(4) Re Financial Services, the Commission will use its own secondary law powers to immediately adopt unilateral measures. Two of these were already announced.

EU bloc firms will be permitted one year access to derivatives clearing houses in the UK, and two years access to central securities depositories in the UK that settle trades (already announced), and a year-long window will be opened for EU bloc organisations to change the contractual terms of over the counter derivatives.

(5) Re Aviation and International Road Haulage, two legal acts will allow airlines to fly point to point between UK and European cities, the most basic form of landing rights. Aviation safety certificates are also temporarily extended. [these measures were already announced]

[still no measures for ownership rights, an extremely difficult problem for the International Airlines Group (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling), which falls below the threshold to maintain its EU flying licences]

9 months of permit-free commercial road haulage, if reciprocal.

(6) Re Trade in Goods, the Commission confirms that general rules will apply, ie tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Adopts an immediate change to EU customs law and proposes a law on exports of dual use goods to the UK (civil goods with military uses).

Time limits are adjusted for customs declarations, but there are no special waivers to help with ro-to ferries at ports.

(7) Re EU Climate Change Policy, the Commission will immediately adopt three measures to take account of Brexit, one applies from January 2019 already.

FURTHER INFORMATION IS SET OUT IN THIS Q&A here.

I will add this document and the global ENV and OHS relevant legal measures to the Brexit Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.