INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Response From Czech Republic On Reach: It Is Too

Published: Fri 16 Jun 2006 01:56 PM
VZCZCXRO1551
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHPG #0674 1671356
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161356Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7511
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS PRAGUE 000674
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EUR/NCE ERIC FICHTE, EB/TPP/BTA/EWH
STATE PLEASE PASS USTR LISA ERRION
COMMERCE FOR ITA/MAC/EUR MIKE ROGERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD BEXP SENV EUN EZ
SUBJECT: RESPONSE FROM CZECH REPUBLIC ON REACH: IT IS TOO
LATE
REF: A. USDOC 02311
B. 05 PRAGUE 01561
1. SUMMARY: The Czech government was receptive to USG
concerns on the pending EU Chemicals Directive (REACH), but
indicated that changes are not likely as it is now a choice
between the Council,s and the Parliament,s versions. Given
the history of GOCR active engagement and pragmatism on REACH
(ref B), we believe the Czech assessment to be credible and
noteworthy. END SUMMARY
2. Econoff met with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of
Internal Market and Related Policy Tomas Buril and his deputy
Jarmila Grigelova to deliver ref A demarche on draft EU REACH
regulation. In general, Mr. Buril and Ms. Grigelova shared
our concerns about the potential costs and burdens both
versions of REACH would impose on the chemical industry.
However, they noted that the draft law, covering more than
30,000 different chemicals produced or imported into the
Union in quantities of one ton a year or more, is not likely
to be watered down or changed. In response to ref A point to
remove activated monomers from the list of registered
substances, Buril doubted that this would be possible, noting
that monomer registration was included in the initial common
position of the Council and first reading version of the
Parliament. Buril further noted that a large concession was
already made when it was decided to leave polymers outside
the scope of the draft.
3. Buril explained that the MFA was playing the referee role
between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry
of the Environment, noting that although the latter is the
lead negotiator for the GOCR, the pressure of industry,
especially that of small and medium sized businesses, has
outweighed the worries of environmental advocates in the
Czech Republic. Buril believes that any lingering problems
with the legislation could be resolved through future
amendments or administrative adjustments in implementation.
Finish with Finnish
4. Econoff also met with the Ministry of the Environment
Director of Environmental Risk and lead GOCR negotiator on
REACH Karel Blaha. Mr. Blaha said that after 5 years of
lengthy debate and consultations regarding REACH among
members of the Council, it was too late for changes and
adjustments. He said that in all likelihood, the current
REACH political agreement would move forward to the Council
for formal approval and ratification. He mentioned that it
was theoretically possible that one or two Member States, for
example Ireland and Poland or Denmark and Sweden, could
"torpedo" REACH, but is not expected.
5. Mr Blaha explained that REACH is now a choice between two
draft bills, the Parliament,s version and the Council,s. He
said that chances were slim that Qualified Majority Voting
amendments would be added to the Council,s version. He said
that no one wants REACH negotiations to go into "conciliation
talks" between the Council, Parliament, and Commission.
Finland has suggested that it wants to conclude REACH during
its upcoming EU Presidency. The Finns have been encouraging
Parliamentarians, such as Mr. Hartmut Nausser from Germany,
to work with the Council before they adopt a version and
deliver it to the Parliament for a second reading. Industry
groups, long opposed to any regulation that would increase
financial burdens and bureaucracy, also desire final
legislation. Failure to reach consensus on REACH would start
both the negotiation and political processes again, and
industry fears a more robust anti-business bill as a result.
DODMAN
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