Parallel breakout session “The threat to health”

When you register for the conference you will be asked to choose one of the afternoon breakout sessions A) Economy and the environment, B) Europe in the wider world, C) Democracy, accountability and the rule of law, D) The climate crisis, E) The threat to nature and F) The threat to health.

F) The threat to health

Following the adoption of the 7 EAP the EU has set itself ambitious targets to improve environmental health, in particular in the area of air quality and to achieve a toxic free environment. On the other hand, efforts to improve chemical safety are facing a strong push back from industry: implementation of REACH is happening at too slow a pace and key issues such as endocrine disrupting chemicals, cocktail effects and toxicity of nanomaterials remain unresolved. This points to a larger trend where new technologies, that often come along with inherent new risks, are developed and brought to the market place at a continuously growing speed, whereas at the same time the speed at which regulators put in place effective new measures to assess, manage and minimise such risks is slowing down. The Commission’s air package, already not a particularly ambitious, is also facing an uphill struggle as it moves through the co-decision process. The use of the precautionary principle, despite being enshrined in EU treaty and providing a common sense approach to deal with scientific uncertainty, continues to be challenged at every occasion, most recently during negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US.

This session will address the following questions:

  • What have been the EU’s greatest successes in tackling pollution, in which areas and why? And the greatest failures? What lessons are to be learned?
  • Will the EU meet its targets in protecting the public from the harmful effects of pollution? If not, why not?
  • Is the precautionary principle gaining ground or losing ground?
  • What should be the immediate priorities in this area for the EU institutions?

Location: SQUARE breakout rooms - follow signs Date: December 1, 2014 Time: 3:25 pm - 5:00 pm Nina Renshaw Génon K. Jensen Christer Ågren Michael Warhurst Axel Singhofen