Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure EU-2020-51/1752 – measures in European Union
|Country||European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 18 December 2020|
|Context||COVID-19, Green Transition|
|Type||Non-binding recommendations or other texts|
Reorientation of business activities
– Change of production/innovation
|Author||Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound|
|Measure added||02 February 2021 (updated 05 February 2021)|
The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability was published by the European Commission on 14 October 2020. This was a result of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown Europe's dependence on the import of a range of essential chemicals for domestic production, in particular drug production. Therefore, the strategy aims to reduce this dependency by providing open strategic autonomy with resilient value chains.
According to the European Trade Union IndustriALL, implementation of the strategy will have the greatest impact on the production, processing, management, reuse and discharge of chemicals since the introduction of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation. Therefore, the strategy must be formulated and shaped with careful assessment of the socio-economic impact.
IndustriAll Europe supports the aim of phasing out most harmful substances for non-essential societal use, but calls for a mindful process of defining “essential” and “non-essential”. Trade union also warns that terminology such as “toxic-free environment” creates wrong expectations. In many cases, the toxic properties of substances are their very asset. Sanitisation for example, so important in the battle against the spread of the coronavirus, would be impossible without “toxic” substances.
IndustriAll Europe agrees with the Commission’s analysis that chemicals are the building blocks of low carbon, zero pollution and energy- and resource-efficient technologies, materials and products. The green and digital transitions of our economies and societies depend on the innovative capacity of the chemical(s) industry.
However trade union expresses its surprise that the role of workers is virtually absent from the strategy. Therefore amongst key demands for the improving of the strategy is an encompassing impact assessment of the potential effects of the strategy’s elements on employment, on the people who research, produce, process, manage, etc.; and solutions for possible negative impacts.
|Applies to all workers||
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
EU (Council, EC, EP)
No special funding required
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||No involvement|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The own opinion of leading EU-level trade union in the sector. Reaction of emoloyers' organizations unknown up to date.
Trade unions support their own opinion.
This case is sector-specific
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|C - Manufacturing||C20 Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2021), Trade unions' opinion on the EU Chemical Strategy, measure EU-2020-51/1752 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/EU-2020-51_1752.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.