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Recovery Seen In Europe

by Michael McCoy
October 12, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 41

The European chemical industry is showing tentative signs of economic recovery, but it is threatened by two European Union legislative initiatives. That was the message of executives who spoke recently at the annual meeting of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) in Lisbon. Christian Jourquin, CEO of the Belgian chemical maker Solvay and current president of CEFIC, Europe’s main chemical trade organization, pointed to economic figures showing that recovery is beginning. At the same time, he said it will take years before the industry returns to the strong levels of January 2008. Recovery, however, is threatened by REACH, the EU’s program for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals. CEFIC officials insist that the industry supports REACH, but they said implementation is proving to be more complex than expected and that chemical users aren’t getting the guidance they need from the new European Chemicals Agency. In addition, Hubert Mandery, CEFIC’s incoming director general, warned that the European Emission Trading Scheme could develop into an additional burden for the industry if, at the end of the Copenhagen conference in December, there are no satisfactory commitments from other global parties to limit carbon emissions. “Any unilateral burden on the industry in Europe will not help this region to stay competitive against emerging regions like Asia and Latin America,” he said.


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