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Editor-in-chief: Maurizio Roncaccia
Editors: Paul Trouth and Päivi Jokiniemi
Article related to: People and perspectives
Croatia joins the EU chemicals management framework
Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013, taking the total number of EU Member States to 28. The REACH, CLP and biocides regulations now apply to companies established in Croatia.
This is the first time a new Member State joins the EU since the REACH Regulation has been operational. Therefore, specific deadlines not foreseen in the regulation have been introduced granting Croatian manufacturers, importers and producers of articles a special pre-registration period for their phase-in substances from 1 July 2013 until 1 January 2014.
Companies will then need to make full REACH registrations for substances manufactured or imported at levels over 100 tonnes together with those that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction or toxic and persistent in the environment by 1 July 2014.
From 1 July 2013, Croatian companies should also make a C&L notification to ECHA within one month of placing a substance on the market. In addition, companies need to notify the classification and labelling of their substance to ECHA from 1 August 2013 for the substances that were on the market on the date of accession.
ECHA Newsletter interviewed Ms Biserka Bastijančić-Kokić from the Croatian Ministry of Health and Ms Tatjana Benko and Mr Hrvoje Raukar from the national oil company to learn how they have been preparing to apply the EU chemicals legislation.
"We have been preparing since 2008," says Biserka Bastijančić- Kokić, Head of the Department for Chemicals and Biocides at the Croatian Ministry of Health. Croatia has had a national plan for harmonising local legislation with the European, and has regularly published ordinances to update its legislation. "We have also offered information on REACH and CLP on our website in Croatian and established REACH and CLP helpdesks already in 2008," Ms Bastijančić-Kokić says. Close cooperation with the national Chamber of Economy has helped in reaching and informing the companies.
Since 2011, Croatian members have participated in the work of the ECHA Committees, Forum on Enforcement and Management Board, first as observers and, after 1 July, as full members. In addition, ECHA has, through the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), organised study visits for Croatian officials to EU Member States and ECHA.
"The support from ECHA has been very helpful and appropriate. We have visited national authorities in Ireland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria and Germany in order to strengthen our capacity. Having material translated and published on ECHA's website in Croatian before the date of accession was also very helpful. However, we definitely need further support from ECHA on REACH-IT, chemical inspection, Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedures and on the new Biocidal Products Regulation."
Ms Bastijančić-Kokić expects that implementing REACH will create the same challenges for Croatian companies as it has for companies in other EU Member States. "Large companies will manage well as we have already seen in our meetings with industry. They are aware of the main requirements of REACH and CLP. Reaching the small and medium enterprises will be a priority for us." As a potential bottleneck, Ms Bastijančić-Kokić mentions the dossier creation in IUCLID 5. "We are also concerned about the tight deadline for the first CLP notifications."
The main benefit of REACH, accoring to Biserka Bastijančić-Kokić, will be the improved communication in the supply chain. "We foresee that REACH will put more demands on Croatian industry to protect human health and the environment and require companies to take more responsibility for their substances. This is a positive development."
Already on the REACH track
Ms Tatjana Benko and Mr Hrvoje Raukar from the Croatian national oil company INA-Industrija nafte, d.d., say that their company is already well acquainted with the REACH and CLP Regulations. "In 2009, we signed an Only Representative contract with our biggest shareholder, Hungarian MOL Plc., to be able to register substances that we sold on the EU market by the first registration deadline of 2010. We are also a member of Concawe, the oil companies' European association, through which we have received a lot of information and support for preparing our dossiers," Mr Raukar and Ms Benko say.
The company will register the rest of its substances by September 2013. "Having already more than five years' experience with REACH, we are very well prepared and will meet our target for dossier submissions." On a national level, however, both Mr Raukar and Ms Benko expect that fulfilling the REACH and CLP obligations will be a ‘considerable challenge'.
The main issue faced by the oil company itself has to do with resources. "The pre-registration in 2008 and registration in 2010 required substantial human, organisational and financial resources. REACH has also initiated new, continuous activities, such as communication with suppliers and customers through the whole supply chain, and updating existing safety data sheets and registration dossiers", Ms Benko and Mr Raukar point out.
As the main benefit of REACH and CLP, Mr Raukar and Ms Benko mention the harmonisation and simplification of chemicals legislation in the EU. "In the future, we expect to see competitive advantages and, overall, improved protection of human health and the environment. Better risk management for dangerous chemicals, especially with regard to worker protection, and a more efficient communication of chemical risks through the chemical safety reports are also important developments."
Text by Veera Saari and Hanna-Kaisa Torkkeli. Top image: Fotolia