EU-flaggan och den svenska flaggan mot en blå himmel.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency’s work with Sweden’s EU Presidency in 2023


The Swedish Chemicals Agency played an important role in providing expert support when Sweden held the EU Presidency in 2023.

During the first half of 2023, Sweden held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Council of Ministers. During the Presidency, a number of new and revised legislative enactments within the EU were negotiated and decided. The government had the formal responsibility for conducting negotiations but relied on the expertise and support of relevant agencies in the negotiating process. In the first instance, the ministries strengthened the negotiating teams, but the agencies could also contribute with staff and assist the Council of Ministers’ work groups with knowledge and support documentation, as well as participate in networks and informal groups.

Read more about the presidency on the government’s website External link.

At the Swedish Chemicals Agency, we contributed with our expert knowledge primarily in the negotiations on EU chemicals legislation. We also contributed to the work on a new chemicals panel within the UN, work on the Global Chemicals Strategy, SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management) as well as the Stockholm Convention and the Rotterdam Convention.

Chemicals-related issues dealt with during Sweden’s Presidency

The CLP Regulation

The EU countries have begun negotiating the proposal for a revised and broadened CLP Regulation. As a next move, there will be threepart meetings with the European Parliament. The aim is to agree on a a final version of the Regulation. In 2022, the European Commission has discussed a proposal that includes, among other things, introduction of new hazard classes in the CLP Regulation. The Swedish Chemicals Agency was the main responsible agency for assisting the negotiations with our expertise in this issue.

CLP stands for “Classification, Labelling and Packaging". Chemical products must be classified, labelled, and packaged in accordance with the requirements of the CLP Regulation before being placed on the market in the EU or the EEA countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The Council's adopted position regarding the negotiating mandate External link.

Read the proposal for a revised CLP regulation on the website of the European Commission External link.

Read more about the CLP regulation

The Ecodesign Regulation

Negotiations within the EU was held on a new Commission proposal on a regulation regarding ecodesign for sustainable products. The proposal is based on the Ecodesign Directive, which at present only covers energy-related products. The EU wants to set performance and information requirements for almost all categories of goods placed on the EU market. The aim is partly to increase the performance and durability of products and partly to improve the possibility of reusing or recycling products.

Read more about the Ecodesign Directive at Eur-Lex External link.

The Detergents Regulation

The 28th of April 2023, the European Commission launched a revised proposal for a regulation on detergents (also known as the Detergents Regulation). The regulation aims to reduce environmental risks and improve information on the contents of the products to consumers.

Read more about the Detergents regulation

Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products

A new regulation is proposed to replace the current directive on the sustainable use of plant protection products. Negotiations between the member states began in 2022 and continued during the spring of 2023. The aim is to reduce the risks of plant protection products for human health and the environment by reducing the use of plant protection products and by promoting alternative methods. The Swedish Agency for Agriculture, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Chemicals Agency were responsible for various parts of the regulatory framework and provided support in the negotiations.

Read more about the directive for the sustainable use of pesticides External link.

The Packaging Regulation

A new regulation will replace the current packaging directive and a proposal for a new regulation were up for negotiations during the Swedish precidency. The European Commission wants to ensure uniform legislation across the EU. The proposal concerns packaging materials and therefore the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency had the primary responsibility among the agencies. At the Swedish Chemicals Agency, we worked with the parts that apply to chemicals.

Read more about the Packaging directive at External link.

The Toys Directive

A revised Toys Directive is underway. The European Commission will come with a new proposal during the summer of 2023. The directive deals with the safety of toys and contains rules on chemical content, flammability, general safety, electrical safety, documentation, labelling and more. The rules contain limit values and prohibitions for various chemical substances. The Swedish Consumer Agency had the main responsibility for the directive, but the Swedish Chemicals Agency was also involved.

Read more about the Toys Directive

The Mercury Regulation

A revised Mercury Regulation is underway in order to further limit the use of mercury in Europe. The European Commission will come with a new proposal during the summer of 2023. The regulation prohibits the import of mercury from outside the EU. In addition, there are rules for certain types of mercury and the use of amalgam. The Mercury Regulation is linked to the Minamata Convention.

Read more about the Mercury Regulation

Read more about the Minamata Convention

Global collaborations during Sweden’s presidency

Several issues raised during the Swedish presidency have bearing on international cooperation and conventions within the framework of the UN. During Sweden’s presidency, it was Sweden that represented the EU’s position on these issues. There were at least four areas where the Swedish Chemicals Agency participated in the work.

The Stockholm Convention and the Rotterdam Convention

The EU held preparatory meetings in Brussels on two global conventions in early 2023, under the Swedish presidency. These concern the further development of the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions.

The Stockholm Convention deals with the prohibition and restriction of POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) such as DDT, PCBs or PFAS. The Convention contains a list of prohibited or strictly restricted substances. The Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are jointly responsible for following and furthering the work.

Read more about the Stockholm Convention

The Rotterdam Convention deals with the prior approval of certain chemicals and pesticides in international trade, the so-called PIC (Prior Informed Consent) procedure. Countries have the right to obtain information in advance on the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides that are banned or severely restricted in other countries. Countries can approve or reject imports in accordance with their national rules. The Rotterdam Convention is implemented in the EU in the PIC Regulation. The Swedish Chemicals Agency works to ensure that the rules are properly applied.

Read more about the Rotterdam Convention

The Global Chemicals Strategy – Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)

The Global Chemicals Strategy, SAICM, is a political agreement without binding rules and with a broader scope than the individual chemical conventions. The UN’s global goals have been to achieve safe chemical management by 2020. A renewed strategy extending beyond 2020 is now required. Work was suspended during the pandemic but was resumed in the form of a preparatory meeting in the spring. This, in preparation for a high-level meeting in September 2023.

Read more about SAICM

New expert panel within the UN

The UN will form a new, scientifically composed UN panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution similar to the IPCC. The decision was taken at the UN Environment Assembly at a meeting in Nairobi in 2022 followed by meetings at UN level during the autumn. The EU held a preparatory meeting in early 2023. According to the timetable, the research panel will be established within the framework of the UN system in 2024.

Read more about the new UN Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution here External link.

Last published 6 July 2023