CHCS  Chemical Hazards Communication Society  Promoting the awareness of chemical hazards & improvements in their identification & communication

EU LAw Making PRocess

European Union

The European Union (EU) is built upon a unique institutional system. The origins can be traced back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which created the then European Economic Community (EEC). The Treaty of Rome was primarily concerned with stimulating economic growth by creating a common market for the movement of goods, people and services between the member states. Since then the political, economic and legislative powers have greatly extended and the current European Union, built upon the "institutional triangle" of Commission, Council and Parliament, directly influences all our lives. References to the “common market” are now replaced by references to the “single market”.

The Commission

The European Commission is the administrative driving force of the EU. The President and other members of the Commission are appointed by the member states after they have been approved by the European Parliament.

The Commission:

  • is the Union's executive body, it is responsible for implementing legislation (directives, regulations, decisions), budgets and programmes adopted by Parliament and the Council

  • has the right to initiate draft legislation by presenting legislative proposals to Parliament and the Council

  • acts as guardian of the Treaties and, together with the Court of Justice, ensures that Community law is properly applied

  • represents the Union on the international stage and negotiates international agreements, chiefly in the field of trade and cooperation

  • is divided into a number of Directorates General, of which those of DG Environment (DG ENV), DG Growth and DG Transport are the most significant for chemicals issues.

The Council

The Council of the EU is the EU's main decision-making body. It is the embodiment of the Member States, whose representatives are brought together regularly at ministerial level. Council meetings are prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives which is made up of ambassadors to the Union from Member States' own governments. These ambassadors act as a link between the Member States & the EU. Their preparatory work and the agreements they make on non-contentious proposals mean that when the ministers meet much has been agreed and only matters still in dispute need to be negotiated.

The Council:

  • is the EU's legislative body, (exercising that power in co-decision with the Parliament)

  • coordinates the economic policies of the member states

  • concludes, on behalf of the EU, international agreements with other states or international organisations

  • shares budgetary authority with Parliament

  • develops the EU's common foreign and security policy, on the basis of general guidelines established by the Council

  • coordinates the activities of member states and adopts measures in the field of police and judicial cooperation.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament is directly elected (every five years) by citizens.

It has three functions, it:

  • shares with the Council the power to legislate, i.e. to adopt European laws (directives, regulations, decisions), and thereby ensures the democratic legitimacy of the texts adopted

  • shares budgetary authority with the Council and can therefore influence EU spending

  • exercises democratic supervision over the Commission. It approves the nomination of Commissioners and has the right to censure the Commission. It also exercises political supervision over all the institutions.

The European Union's Treaties

The EU's treaties give authority to the institutions of the Union, to operate together to create law. There are two main treaties. These can be accessed at:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/collection/eu-law/treaties.html

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)

This deals mainly with the elimination of trade barriers and other trade issues. Most EU regulations and directives affecting chemical hazards are made under one or other of the articles of this treaty. This is why they now include the letters "EU" in them, or “EC” if made under the former “Treaty establishing the Europeans Community” (TEC), or "EEC" if made under the precursor "European Economic Community" treaty.

E.g. REACH is Regulation (EC) No. 19707/2006 and was made under Article 95 of the TEC, which deals with "Approximation of Laws" (now article 114 of the TFEU).

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEU)

This deals mainly with political and monetary union.

Law Making

Law-making in the European Union is usually now the result of interaction between the ''institutional triangle" (Parliament, Council and Commission).

The rules for their decision-making are laid down in the Treaties and cover every area in which the European Union acts.

The main procedure used is the “ordinary legislative procedure”, formerly know as the:

  • co-decision procedure. The ordinary legislative procedure involvers the “joint adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of a regulation, directive or decision on a proposal from the Commission”. This procedure is defined in Article 294.

Most of the law that interests CHCS (for example amendments to REACH and CLP) are now made using the ordinary procedure. This provides for two successive readings, by Parliament and the Council, of a Commission proposal and the convocation, if the two co-legislators cannot agree, of a "conciliation committee", composed of Council and Parliament representatives, with the participation of the Commission, to reach an agreement. This agreement is then submitted to Parliament and the Council for a third reading with a view to its final adoption. Conciliation is very rarely needed.

Arising from these processes, there are three 'categories' of European law that have binding force:

  1. Regulations - For issues of general application these apply directly and ensure uniform application throughout the Union. Regulations are binding on Member States and require no national measures for implementation. REACH is a regulation. They do however normally need MS legislation to specify the applicable Competent and Enforcement Authority(ies) and to set penalties for non compliance.

  2. Directives - Indicate the required results to be achieved but leave the detail to the individual Member States. These only take effect when they are embodied in the national legislation. Member States are given a transposition deadline by which date they must introduce their own legislation. This is usually between 18 months and 3 years. Differences in national interpretation can lead to uneven implementation of Directives.

  3. Decisions - These may be applicable to a Member State, an organisation or an individual within the Union. These are only binding upon the individual or institution to which they are addressed.

A Plain Language Guide To Eurojargon

If you want to know what comitology is, or what the official languages of the EU are, then "A Plain Language Guide To Eurojargon" may be the answer.

CHCS News

14th ATP To CLP: Outcomes For TiO2, Cobalt & DPTA
The European Commission has decided the outcome for TiO2, Cobalt and DPTA in relation to the 14th ATP. 

CHCS Members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings page. [Posted on 28 August 2019]

Draft Amendment To "Poison Centre" Regulations On Friday, 19th July 2019, the European Commission sent to the World Trade Organisation, a draft regulation amending Annex VIII, including delaying the 1st notification deadline to 1 Jan 2021.

CHCS Members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings page.

[Posted on 22 July 2019]

Possible Annex VIII to CLP Extension?

The amendment to Annex VIII including adding a one year extension to the first deadline was discussed at CARACAL and there were no objections.

CHCS Members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings page.

[Posted on 22 July 2019]

Endocrine Disruptors - 1st CHCS Video

We have produced our first video for members: "Endocrine Disruptors", which is available to members free-of-charge.

This introductory video explains the various components of the human endocrine system and how they interact, to help understand the mechanisms of endocrine disruptors on human systems.

The video is just over 10 minutes long.

To register for access to the video, please visit our video registration page: Endocrine Disruptors Video Registration.

[Posted on 1 July 2019]

25th CHCS AGM & 8th Annual Lectures

We are delighted to announce that we have a date and venue for our 25th AGM and 8th Annual Lectures:

  • Wednesday 20th November 2019
  • Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Pendigo Way, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, B40 1PP

Registration is now open - we will release an agenda and program for the Annual Lectures in due course.

For more details or to register, please visit our 25th CHCS AGM web page. 

[Posted on 13 June 2019]

Autumn Training Schedule Now Published - Courses Available At "Early-Bird" Discount Rate

Full details of all our training courses taking place from now to end of December 2019, can be found on our Training page. All courses are priced at a discount rate of only £275 (+VAT) for each 1-day course (until 9 weeks before the course, when the price rises to £325 (+VAT)).

[Posted on 5 June 2019]

SCHC Fall 2019 Meeting: Registration Now Open 

Our colleagues at the US-based Society for Chemical Hazard Communication have opened registration for one of their major events of the year, which includes a 2-day General Meeting, Professional Development Courses, Networking Events and an Exhibitor Event. This will take place in Arlington, VA, USA with events from 21 - 25 Sept 2019.

CHCS members can attend (or register for web-streaming) at SCHC member rates. For more information, please visit our SCHC web page

News Briefings Summary
  • 29 June 2019
    Workability Issues: Notification to Poison Centres

  • 24 June 2019
    Eurotunnel publishes 2019 guidance

  • 24 April 2019
    HSE Consultation on revision of Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for a range of carcinogens


  • 28 March 2019
    Poison Centre Guidance Document Published

  • 22 March 2019
    Poison Centre Guidance Document Published

  • 23 January 2019
    Links To Guidance & Legislation Recently Laid Before Parliament

  • 23 January 2019
    RPA Seeks Input From Companies In Chemicals Supply Chain To Assess Impacts Of Brexit

  • 11 January 2019
    Preparing For A Potential 'No-Deal' Brexit

    CHCS Members can read these News items, and older posts, on the CHCS News Briefings page.

    26 July 2018 - CHCS Labelling Competition

    Have you overcome a tricky labelling problem? Are you labelling a small or awkwardly shaped package, printing on a difficult surface, or have overcome another problem?

    Are you proud of your label designs that make it easier for customers to read and understand your labels?

    CHCS Members can enter our new competition. For more details please visit: CHCS Labelling Competition.

    9  July 2018 - CHCS Needs Your Help!

    CHCS has a number of vacancies on our committees and are looking for volunteers to fill them. For more information please see: CHCS Vacancies.

    Next 3 CHCS Training Courses:

    For a full list of our CHCS Training Courses, please visit our Training page. 

    OTHER CHCS EVENTS

    HOW TO JOIN CHCS

    CHCS Membership is open to any person with an interest in chemical hazard communications. You can join by completing the simple on-line form at Join CHCS. Membership is currently £85.00 (+ £17.00 VAT where applicable; a total of £102.00). 

    Contact CHCS

    • General, membership and events/training enquiries: enquiries@chcs.org.uk, tel+ 44 (0) 333 210 2427 (option 1)

    • For all enquiries related to invoices, payments and any other accounting issues:
      accounts@chcs.org.uk, tel:
       + 44 (0) 333 210 2427 (option 2)

    See full CHCS Contact Details.

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