2023 will be a decisive year for the future of the EU’s chemicals policy. The Commission has been working hard for over two years to reform the policy centrepiece, REACH, and make it fit to deliver the Green Deal’s toxic-free objective.
But we are still awaiting the results.
There is little time left before MEPs wind down their legislative work ahead of the elections. Governments, MEPs, NGOs and industries were on edge last October, when the Commission decided to delay the REACH reform proposal  by one year.
The end of cheap Russian gas and oil put high pressure on citizens and businesses. But the Green Deal is proving to be the future-proof response. Climate and energy targets are becoming more ambitious. Why shouldn’t the fight against chemical pollution follow the same path? Ukraine has shown us what is possible even in times of major crises – last month it adopted its EU-aligned chemicals law.
Commissioners stayed tight-lipped on the political reasons for the REACH revision delay. Commission services insist they need more time to achieve a perfect proposal.
However, there was important progress last year to protect people and wildlife from harmful chemicals: the impact assessment on the REACH revision passed the Commission’s internal scrutiny and the Commission adopted new hazard classes, including for endocrine disruptors and persistent and mobile chemicals.
Where there is political will, there is a way.
 initially planned in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability for the end of 2022, it has been postponed to the fourth quarter of 2023 in the Commission work programme for 2023.