Competent Authorities are those government bodies or departments responsible for the implementation of REACH (Regulation (EC) No.1907/2006) within each EU Member State. Each Member State has appointed one or more Competent Authorities. Which type of government body is responsible varies per Member State. In some, it is the Environment Ministry or Protection Agency which is responsible for chemicals regulation and management in that country, and thereby also the REACH Competent Authority. In other countries, the Ministry of Health, Occupational Safety, or Chemicals Bureau is separately or jointly appointed with other bodies, sometimes event the ministry of economy, as the Competent Authorities. Approximately one third are ranged under Environment ministries, one third under Health or labor ministries, and one third under other agencies. The extent to which a given Competent Authority pro-actively pursues the highest possible standards of protection of health and environment in Europe is not necessarily reflected in their ministerial location. A list of the REACH Competent Authorities for each EU member state can be found in the publication ‘Navigating REACH’ (see below).
Every few months there are meetings of the REACH ‘competent authorities’ where the national ministry officials meet with the Commission and stakeholders to discuss matters related to the establishment and implementation of the REACH system. Prior to REACH, the Competent Authorities met to conduct affairs under the European Existing and New Substances Chemicals laws (Regulation 793/93/EEC and Directive 92/32/EEC). Environment and health NGOs have 4 observer seats at these meetings, in addition to two seats for a representative of trade unions and a representative of animal rights groups. Industry affiliated groups also have several observer seats. Health community stakeholders are currently represented through the Health and Environment Alliance, the NGO that is running the Chemicals Health Monitor project.
The meetings of the REACH Competent Authorities generally take place in Brussels:
To learn more about REACH you can:
Written on 23 May 2008.