A removal team has arrived at the European Commission to move two senior commissioners into new jobs with their best friends in dirty industry. Given the determined efforts of EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen to put polluting industry before public interests we think they would be better employed elsewhere.
Some politicians in Europe are bending over backwards to put dirty industry profits before public interest.
Greenpeace activists dressed as a removal team, complete with
EuropeanCommission Clean Up Co. overalls arrived to move Barroso
and Verheugenout of the Commission building and across town to
their favouritelobbying locations. Moving office leaflets where
distributed to EUstaff to explain that Mr Barroso would be moving
to take up a job withthe CEFIC - the European chemicals industry
association thathas spent millions on lobbying against stronger
chemical law. MrVerheugen will be moving to German chemical giant
BASF, the leadingcompany bankrolling the back room trashing of
proposals for stronger chemical law. Bothpoliticians have traded
public interest in their attempts to water downthe proposed EU
chemicals policy (REACH).
Why exactly should they move?
One of our removal team - Nadia Haiama of the Greenpeace
European Unitexplains: "Children are being born with a cocktail of
hazardouschemicals in their bloodstream and Mr Barroso and Mr
Verheugen aresupporting companies that want to go on producing
these substances. Itis not surprising that the chemicals industry
fights for the right topollute with impunity, but when the European
Commission defends thatposition, something is wrong. If Mr Barroso
and Mr Verheugen intend toput chemicals industry profits before the
public interest, they shouldmove. We've come to help them relocate
to where their heart seems tobe."
Fix required - but trashing in progress
Current chemicals legislation is failing to protect our health.
Humansand the environment are exposed to a wide range of
potentially harmfulmanmade chemicals. Hazardous chemicals have been
repeatedly found inthe environment and in human bodies, including
foetuses, and representa threat for all sections of society, from
workers to children. Formost chemicals on the market there exists
no or insufficientinformation to assess their effects on human
health or the environment.
In Europe there is an attempt to fix this with the new REACH law
butalmost from the moment it was suggested it has been under fire
fromvested interests who profit from pollution. The toxic twins,
Barrosoand Verheugen, are attempting to drive the final nail in the
coffin ofthealready weakened EU chemicals reform, being cheered on
by their dirtyindustry friends. Instead of defending the public
interest, theiractions are becoming a threat to our health and
If successful, the industry-led sabotage of REACH supported by
Messrs Barroso and Verheugen would:
- Allow 20,000 chemicals onto the market without basic health and
- Let health and safety information on chemicals fall below
internationally recognised minimum requirements;
- Deprive chemical users and retailers of information on
hazardous chemicals contaminating their supply chain;
- Give industry the right to use hazardous chemicals even when
safer substitutes exist.
Medical, scientific, trade union andenvironmental experts all
support a strong chemical law. Mr Barroso andMr Verheugen appear to
prefer the arguments of the chemicals industry.
Are shortsighted business interests more compelling than the health ofmillions of citizens and future generations? We don't think so.
Help our work for a toxic free future.