Volume 46 (2009) / Issue 6
Marco Bronckers, Yves Van Gerven, 'Legal Remedies Under the EC’s New Chemicals Legislation REACH: Testing a New Model of European Governance' (2009) 46 Common Market Law Review, Issue 6, pp. 1823–1871
The REACH legislation constitutes a milestone for the European Union. It sets new standards for environmental law, which are becoming the benchmark for many countries and companies around the world. This new chemicals legislation also introduces institutional novelties at the European level. An independent European agency with decision-making powers has been created to administer this complex and highly technical legislation. Nevertheless, the European Commission and the Member States have maintained direct influence over the agency’s work, and participate in various roles in the implementation of REACH. These environmental and institutional innovations are not making the position of companies, who are the immediate addressees of the legislation, any easier. The present article analyses the decision-making processes under REACH, and inquires which legal remedies, if any, registering companies have in the event they encounter decisions that adversely affect them. It will be shown that companies are not always in an enviable position. They are paying a price, it seems, for the still evolving institutional architecture of the European Union. In other words, the deficiencies in legal protection we identify point to more fundamental problems surrounding the effectiveness and accountability of European agencies. Thus, this analysis can also serve as a case study to test new models of European governance. The article offer recommendations for improvement.
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