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EU | 4 July 2024

ClientEarth Briefing on the Commission Communication on Essential Use
European Green Deal

PDF | 288 kb

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ClientEarth Briefing on the Commission Communication on Essential Use

On 22 April 2024 the European Commission published the Communication ‘Guiding criteria and principles for the essential use concept in EU legislation dealing with chemicals’ (C(2024) 1995 final), a key deliverable under the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (COM(2020) 667).

The Commission indeed committed to: “define criteria for essential uses to ensure that the most harmful chemicals are only allowed if their use is necessary for health, safety or is critical for the functioning of society and if there are no alternatives that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and health. These criteria will guide the application of essential uses in all relevant EU legislation for both generic and specific risk assessments

This briefing proposes an explanation and external assessment of the criteria set out by the Commission. It has several purposes:

  1. presenting the objective and components of the communication (see questions 1 & 2),
  2. offering an interpretation of its key components (questions 3 – 6),
  3. establishing a starting point for future work to ensure the uptake of essential use considerations in legislation (questions 7 – 9), and
  4. from this, deriving specific policy demands (question 10).

Our March 2023 briefing on essential use & EU law, that further explores the role of the concept in legislative reform, can be found here: