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Brussels, 14 March 2011

Environment: Commission asks Czech Republic to update biocides legislation

The European Commission is asking the Czech Republic to update its chemicals legislation and authorise the use of two biocides. Under European legislation, the rodenticide Flocoumafen and the wood preservative Tolylfluanide should be included on Member States' lists of authorised substances. Despite an earlier warning from the Commission, the Czech Republic has not yet added these to its list of active substances which can be used in biocidal products, so on the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, a reasoned opinion is being sent. In case the Czech Republic doesn't comply with its legal obligation within two months, the Commission may refer this Member State to the Court of Justice and may already ask the Court to impose financial sanctions at this stage, without having to return to the Court for a second ruling.1

Directive 2009/150/EC requires Member States to include the biocide flocoumafen as an active substance permitted for rodenticides in their national legislation by 30 September 2010, and Directive 2009/151/EC requires Member States to include the biocide tolylfluanide as an active substance permitted for wood preservatives in their national legislation by the same date. The Czech Republic did not notify the Commission of the relevant implementing legislation for either substance before that deadline, so a reasoned opinion is being sent.

The EU has a strict framework of rules to govern the placing on the market of biocidal products. The two products in question are considered safe, as they have passed the Commission's tests. Czech consumers are therefore being penalised by the delay in national authorisation.

Background: Flocoumafen and Tolylfluanid

Flocoumafen is a substance used in rodenticides, which are biocidal products used to control rodents like rats and mice. Rodents can pose a serious threat to public health, as well as causing damage to buildings (chewing through plastic pipes and electrical wiring) and materials. Tolylfluanid is a biocide used in wood preservatives, products that lengthen the useful life of wood by increasing resistance to attacks from insects and fungi.

Biocides contain active substances that act on or against harmful organisms. As they may present risks to human health or the environment, Member States may only authorize the placing on the market of such products after the appropriate tests have been completed and the product in question has been authorised. The inclusion of an active substance in Annex I of the Biocides Directive is the first step in the procedure which may lead to the authorisation of a product containing such a substance. Member States must add these substances to their national lists of authorised substances, so that producers may then ask for authorisation to put products containing biocides such as Flocoumafen or Tolylfluanid on the market.

The timely transposition of EU legislation is a priority for the Commission. Under new policy in cases where Member States have failed to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission can now ask for financial sanctions to be imposed at the first referral to Court. This policy was adopted in November 2010 and entered into force on 15 January 20112.

Further information

For current statistics on infringements in general:

See also MEMO/11/162

1 :

Directive adopted under a legislative procedure

2 :

Communication on the Implementation of Article 260 (3) of the Treaty (OJ C 12,15.1.2011, p1)

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