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European Commission - Statement

Commission welcomes agreement by Parliament and Council to protect workers better against cancer-causing chemicals

Brussels, 11 July 2017

Today the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the Commission's proposal to set new or stricter exposure limits for several cancer-causing chemicals in the workplace. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, welcomed today's agreement and said: "Cancer kills more workers than any other work-related disease and causes many families enormous suffering. Today's agreement therefore marks a milestone in the protection of workers' health and safety, in particular against cancer at the workplace. Protecting workers' health and safety in general, and the fight against work-related cancer in particular, are a top priority for this Commission."

The revision process of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive started in 2008, and the Juncker Commission took concrete action to speed up progress in this area. Since May 2016, we have put forward two proposals to amend this Directive and reduce workers' exposure to 20 cancer-causing chemicals. Both proposals would help save the lives of more than 100,000 workers over the next 50 years.

Today the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have come to an agreement on the Commission's first proposal to amend the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. The Commission would like to thank all parties around the table for their common efforts, notably the Parliament's rapporteur Marita Ulvskog and the shadow rapporteurs, as well as the Maltese Presidency and its predecessors.

Today's agreement between the co-legislators confirms the strong political commitment by all EU institutions to the fight against work-related cancer. The Commission now calls on the Parliament and the Council to seize this momentum and come to a swift agreement on its second proposal, presented in January 2017.

Looking further ahead, our work does not stop here. The Commission has already started preparatory work for the next set of chemicals, for which we intend to present a proposal early next year. The Commission also launched a broader initiative to promote health and safety in the workplace in January 2017. By joining forces with all EU institutions and acting decisively together, we can make a significant step forward in the protection of our workers' health and safety.

STATEMENT/17/1864

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