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ECHA has organised a public consultation on its draft strategy for the next 5 years. This document comes at a crucial point in time, just after the release of the REACH Review and after the arrival of a new executive director, Björn Hansen. ECHA has many crucial powers in the implementation of REACH. The selection of its priorities will therefore have a key impact on whether the gaps in the implementation of REACH, as identified by the 2018 REACH review, will shrink in the next years.
ClientEarth has contributed to the public consultation. It welcomed the focus ECHA placed on intensifying the identification and control of harmful substances. However, ClientEarth regrets that ECHA still defines itself as a service provider for the industry. ECHA is an EU agency, created to ensure that the industry effectively complies with its obligations under REACH, in order to serve the public interest. ECHA needs to remember that it has the power and obligation to force the industry to comply with its obligations. Offering help to the industry to do so is important, but it is simply not enough, and not all that ECHA can do.