At today’s full plenary session, the European Parliament voted on the Objection to the European Commission’s draft Endocrine Disruptor (ED) Criteria for Plant Protection Products (PPPs), with 389 votes in favour, 235 against and 70 abstentions. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ENVI Committee) voted on the Objection last week (see our previous alert).
The adopted Objection challenges the draft ED Criteria for PPPs on the basis that the European Commission exceeded its implementing powers, in particular by adopting criteria excluding active substances with an intended endocrine mode of action from being identified as endocrine disrupter for non-target organisms. The Objection further criticizes that a category of “suspected” EDs is not included in the criteria for endocrine disrupting properties, and that read-across is not explicitly accepted (this is considered inconsistent with classification system of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances of the CLP Regulation).
This means that the European Commission cannot adopt the draft measure on the ED Criteria for PPPs, but must follow one of the following routes:
i. Withdraw, Amend, and Re-Table (Full Comitology) the Draft Measure on ED Criteria for PPPs
The European Commission can decide to withdraw the draft ED Criteria for PPPs and to amend them before re-submitting them to the relevant comitology committee (the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed - Section: "Phytopharmaceuticals - Legislation") for an opinion. Should the European Commission decide to amend the draft measure, it can be expected that such amendments would consider the changes requested by the European Parliament in the objection (deleting the last paragraph of the amendment to Annex II, the inclusion of suspected EDs and read-across).
ii. Withdraw the Draft Measure on ED Criteria for PPPs Without Further Action
In this case, no further action would be taken on the adoption of the criteria for ED properties under the Plant Protection Products Regulation. In view of the CJEU’s judgment in Case T-521/14 Kingdom of Sweden v European Commission, condemning the European Commission for its failure to adopt ED criteria, inaction by the European Commission seems unlikely.
iii. Withdraw and Submit a New Legislative Proposal to the European Parliament and the Council
The European Commission may also decide to submit an entirely new legislative proposal on the basis of the Treaty. This procedure could, however, take considerably longer than the submission of amended draft criteria to the Standing Committee.