The European Union and COVID-19Maleeha Azhar
The European Chemicals Agency and the European Commission are supporting Member States and companies to apply derogations from the normal authorisation requirement for biocidal products. This may alleviate the difficulties companies and Member State authorities may be facing during the global coronavirus pandemic, and this would also allow healthcare professionals and European citizens to have access to more disinfectants. Companies looking to quickly access the market with their disinfectants that contain an already approved active substance, are able to apply for permission to the relevant national authority by relying on Article 55(1) of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). This provision allows national authorities to provide time-limited derogations from the standard product authorisation requirements in situations where there is a threat to public health (See Here).
Additionally, the European Commission has published a guidance document on Shipments of Waste in the EU in the context of the COVID-19 crisis (See Here). The Commission recognises that companies dealing with waste are providing an essential service to society to protect health and the environment and to keep the circular economy moving. The Commission, therefore, has provided guidance to Member State Competent Authorities, economic operators and stakeholders in order to prevent and reduce obstacles to shipments. The guidance document clarifies that waste shipments have access to the newly established “green lanes” for goods transport. It also recommended using electronic rather than paper procedures whereever if this is possible for complying with the documentation and notification requirements of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation. Furthermore, it is enouraged to use electronic reports and they should be accepted by competent authorities in all member states, according to the Commission.
Furthermore, the European Center for Disease Prevention has published a guidance on Social Distancing measures that all individuals are encouraged to implement in their daily lives. Some of those recommendations may apply to businesses in respect of, for example, restriction of mass gatherings, and staying at home measures.
-ECHA COVID-19 updates (https://echa.europa.eu/covid-19)
-European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china)
-European Commission Coronavirus response (https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response_en)