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A Hybrid within a Hybrid: Contextualising REACH in the Process of European Integration and Constitutionalisation

  • Poul F. Kjaer (a1)

Abstract

REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use. This Regulation is a hybrid that combines hierarchy and heterarchy from a both a legal and an organisational perspective. Such hybridism is, however, not a feature that is particular to REACH. Rather the EU itself must be understood as a hybrid, thereby making REACH a hybrid operating within a hybrid. The hybrid structure of REACH reflects its societal function, which is to simultaneously separate and combine politics, science, economy, health and the environment within a single legal framework. The legitimacy of REACH reflects its hybrid structure in the sense that it is based on a combination of democratic, procedural and deliberative components.

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1 Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European EP and of the Council of 18 December 2006.

2 According to industry sources, the chemicals sector is one of the largest industries in the EU. It employs around 4 million people directly and indirectly. The EU chemicals industry has a global market share of 30 % making it the world leader. In 2005 the EC exported chemicals for €110 billion and imports were €72 billion, creating a trade surplus of €38 billion. The EC chemicals industry comprises around 27.000 companies but is dominated by a few multinational companies which produce some 70 % of output. In 2004 the main producers were Germany (25 % of EU total), France (16 % of EU total), Italy (12 % of EU total) and the UK (10 % of EU total) [Source: European Chemical Industry Council website <http://www.cefic.org>].

3 Beck, Ulrich, Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 1986); Luhmann, Niklas, Soziologie des Risikos (Berlin: de Gruyter 1991).

4 Hence, the objective is not to evaluate whether the substantial mission of Reach is a meaningful enterprise, but merely to reflect on the possible value of its regulatory model within the wider context of the integration process.

5 Directive 67/548/EEC of the Council of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.

6 Directive 79/831/EEC of the Council of 18 September 1979 amending Directive 67/548/EEC of the Council of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.

7 Directive 92/32/EEC of the Council of 30 April 1992 amending Directive 67/548/EEC of the Council of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.

8 Directive 76/769/EEC of the Council of 27 July 1976 relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations.

9 Directive 88/379/EEC of the Council of 7 June 1988 relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations, revised by Directive 1999/45 EC of the European EP and the Council of 31 May 1999.

10 Regulation (EEC) No 793/1993 of the Council of 23 March 1993 on evaluation and control of risks of existing substances.

11 European Chemical Industry Council website <http://www.cefic.org>.

12 For a very useful and detailed account of the policy process especially in relation to the role of impact assessments, see Meuwese, Anne C.M., Impact Assessment in EU Lawmaking (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2008), pp. 186 et sqq.

13 More specifically, of the amended version of Directive 67/548/EEC of the Council of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances, Directive 76/769/EEC of the Council of 27 July 1976 relating to restricions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, Directive 88/379/EEC of the Council of 7 June 1988 relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations, revised by Directive 1999/45 EC of the European EP and the Council of 31 May 1999, Regulation (EEC) No 793/1993 of the Council 23 March 1993 on evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances.

14 Commission White Paper “Strategy for a Future Chemicals Policy”, COM (2001) 88 final, pp. 6 et sqq.

15 Commission Working Document SEC (1998) 1986 Final.

16 Commission White Paper “Strategy for a Future Chemicals Policy”, supra note 14.

17 The position of the EC Chemicals industry is available on the Internet at <http://cms.cefic.be/Templates/shwStory.asp?NID=494&HID=448>.

18 For the complete list of submissions see the Internet at <http://ECropa.EC/enterprise/reach/consultation/public_en.htm>.

19 The impact of Reach on third countries and other regimes such as the WTO regime are manifold but falls outside the scope of this article. But see, e.g., Fisher, Elizabeth, “The ‘Perfect Storm’ of Reach: Charting Regulatory Controversy in the Age of Information, Sustainable Development, and Globalization”, 11(4) Journal of Risk Research (2008), pp. 541 et sqq. and Scott, Joanne, “From Brussels with Love: The Transatlantic Travels of European Law and the Chemistry of Regulatory Attraction”, 57(4) American Journal of Comparative Law (2009), pp. 897 et sqq.

22 Commission Proposal for a Regulation concerning Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing the European Chemicals Agency and Amending Directive 1999/45/EC, COM(2003)644 of 29 October 2003. See also Meuwese, Impact Assessment in EU Lawmaking, supra note 12, p. 200.

23 The changes did not only take place because of resistance from the major MS and European industries but also because of fierce criticism from major trading partners, notably the United States.

24 World Trade Organization, notification G/TBT/N/EEC/52 of 21 January 2004. The EC response is available on the Internet at the European Commission, DG Enterprise website <http://ec.ECropa.EC/enterprise/reach/docs/reach/EC_wto_response_041028.pdf>.

25 The report is available on the Internet at <http://ec.ECropa.EC/enterprise/reach/docs/trial/sport_report_050704.pdf>.

26 European EP Legislative Resolutions P6_TA(2005)0434 and P6- TA(2005)0435 of 17 November 2005.

27 Common Positions of the Council of the European Union 7524/06 and 7525/06 of 12 June 2006.

28 Communication from the Commission to the European EP COM (2006) 375 final, p. 3.

29 Ibid.

30 Decision 1999/468/EC of the Council of 28 June 1999, Article 5a. Decision amended by Decision 2006/512/EC of the Council.

31 Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European EP and of the Council of 18 December 2006, preamble, recital 1.

32 Ibid., preamble, recital 4.

33 Ibid., preamble, recital 12.

34 European Environmental Law Website <http://www.eel.nl/index.asp?sub_categorie=243>.

35 Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European EP and of the Council of 18 December 2006, preamble, recital 31.

36 For a very instructive analysis of the hybridity of Reach see also Hey, Christian, Jacob, Klaus and Volkery, Axel, “Better Regulation by New Governance Hybrids? Governance Models and the Reform of European Chemicals Policy”, 15 Journal of Cleaner Production (2007), pp 1859 et sqq . Hey et al., however, argues that hybridity is a new phenomenon within the EU which can be traced back to the introduction of “new modes of governance”. For the view that what are commonly understood as new modes of governance and hybridity in general by no means are new features of European integration see Kjaer, Poul F., Between Governing and Governance: On the Emergence, Function and Form of Europe's Post-national Constellation (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2010).

37 Kämper, Eckard and Schmidt, Johannes F.K., “Netzwerke als strukturelle Kopplung”, in Weyer, Johannes (ed.), Soziale Netzwerke. Konzepte und Methoden der Sozialwissenschaftlichen Netzwerkforschung (München: Oldenburg Verlag 2000), pp. 220 et sqq . For the role of networks in the context of the European integration process see also Kjaer, Poul F., “Embeddedness through Networks – A Critical Appraisal of the Network Concept in the Oeuvre of Karl-Heinz Ladeur”, 10(4) German Law Journal (2009), pp. 483 et sqq.

38 Teubner, Gunther, “Das Recht hybrider Netzwerke”, 165 Zeitschrift für das gesamte Handelsrecht und Wirtschaftsrecht (2001), pp 550 et sqq., at p. 563.

39 Majone, Giandomenico (ed.), Regulating Europe (London: Routledge 1996).

40 Joerges, Christian and Neyer, Jürgen, “From Intergovernmental Bargaining to Deliberative Political Processes: The Constitutionalisation of Comitology”, 3(3) European Law Journal (1997), pp. 273 et sqq.; Transforming Strategic Interaction into Deliberative Problem Solving: European Comitology in the Foodstuffs Sector”, 4(4) Journal of European Public Policy (1997), pp. 609 et sqq.; Joerges, Christian, “Die Europäische ‘Komitologie’: Kafkaeske Bürokratie oder Beispiel ‘deliberativen Regierens’”, in Joerges, Christian and Falke, Josef (eds), Das Ausschusswesen der Europäischen Union. Praxis der Risikoregulierung im Binnenmarkt und ihre rechtliche Verfassung (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag 2000), pp. 17 et sqq.; Joerges, Christian, “Deliberative Supranationalism – Two Defences”, 8(1), European Law Journal (2002), pp. 133 et sqq.

41 Charles Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin, “Learning from Difference: The New Architecture of Experimentalist Governance in the European Union”, 18 La Follette School Working Papers (2006).

42 Kjaer, Poul F., Between Governing and Governance: On the Emergence, Function and Form of Europe's Post-national Constellation (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2010).

43 For the concept of legal hybridity see Sand, Inger-Johanne, “Hybrid Law – Law in a Global Society of Differentiation and Change”, in Callies, Gralf-Peter, Fischer-Lescano, Andreas, Wielsch, Dan and Zumbansen, Peer (eds), Soziologische Jurisprudenz. Festschrift für Gunther Teubner zum 65. Geburtstag (Berlin: De Gruyter 2009), pp. 871 et sqq.

44 Kjaer, Poul F., “The Societal Function of European Integration in the Context of World Society”, 13(1+2) Soziale Systeme. Zeitschrift für Soziologische Theorie (2007), pp. 367 et sqq.; Constitutionalizing Governing and Governance in Europe”, 9(1) Comparative Sociology (2010), pp. 86 et sqq.

45 Fischer-Lescano, Andreas and Teubner, Gunther, “Regime-Collisions: The Vain Search for Legal Unity in the Fragmentation of Global Law”, 25 Michigan Journal of International Law (2004), pp. 999 et sqq. ; Regime-Kollisionen: Zur Fragmentierung des Weltrechts (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 2006); Fragmentierung des Weltrechts: Vernetzung globaler Regimes statt etatistischer Rechtseinheit”, in Albert, Mathias and Stichweh, Rudolf (eds), Weltstaat und Weltstaatlichkeit. Beobachtungen globaler politischer Strukturbildung (Wiesbaden: Vs Verlag 2007), pp. 37 et sqq.

46 A triangular relationship which increasingly have been supplemented by a fourth dimension in the form of the European Council.

47 To the three main forms of governance structures mentioned above one could also add mutual recognition, the partnership concept, originally developed within the context of Community structural founding, the so-called social dialogue as developed under the framework of the Maastricht Treaty, and the concept of Environmental Policy Integration. See also; Scott, Joanne and Trubek, David M., “Mind the Gap: Law and New Approaches to Governance in the European Union”, 8(1) European Law Journal (2002), pp.1 et sqq.

48 Kjaer, “Embeddedness through Networks”, supra note 37, pp. 483 et sqq.

49 Luhmann, Niklas, Politik der Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 2000), at pp. 390 et sqq.

50 MacCormick, Neil, “Beyond the Sovereign State”, 56(1) Modern Law Review (1993), pp. 1 et sqq.

51 Stichweh, Rudolf, ”Dimensionen des Weltstaats im System der Weltpolitik”, in Albert, and Stichweh, (eds), Weltstaat und Weltstaatlichkeit. Beobachtungen globaler politischer Strukturbildung, supra note 45, at pp. 26 et sqq.

52 Kjaer, Between Governing and Governance: On the Emergence, Function and Form of Europe's Post-national Constellation, supra note 42, at pp. 21 et sqq.

53 The EU does not fulfill Pierre Bourdieu's revised Weberian definition of the state either, as he defines the state as the institution which “successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical and symbolic violence over a definite territory and over the totality of the corresponding population”. See Bourdieu, Pierre, “Rethinking the State: Genesis and Structure of the Bureaucratic Field”, 12(1) Sociological Theory (1994), pp. 1 et sqq., at p. 3.

54 Jarass, Hans D., Politik und Bürokratie als Elemente der Gewaltenteilung (München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 1975).

56 Riekmann, Sonja P., Die kommissarische Neuordnung Europas. Das Dispositiv der Integration (Wien: Springer Verlag 1998). For a historical account of the function of the Commissioners’ office see also Hintze, Otto, “Der Commissarius und seine Bedeutung in der allgemeinen Verwaltungsgeschichte. Eine vergleichende Studie”, in Id., Beamtentum und Bürokratie (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht [1910] 1981), pp. 78 et sqq.

57 Luhmann, Niklas, “Europa als Problem der Weltgesellschaft”, 2 Berliner Debatte (1994), pp. 3 et sqq., at p. 6.

58 For such a view of statehood see Grimm, Dieter, “The Achievement of Constitutionalism and its Prospects in a Changed World”, in Dobner, Petra and Loughlin, Martin (eds), The Twilight of Constitutionalism? (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010), pp. 3 et sqq . For the view that historically speaking such totalizing states have actually never existed, see Thornhill, Chris, “The future of the State”, in Kjaer, Poul F, Teubner, Gunther and Febbrajo, Alberto, The Financial Crisis in Constitutional Perspective: The Dark Side of Functional Differentiation (Oxford: Hart Publishing, forthcoming 2011).

59 Weiler, Joseph H.H., “Epilogue: ‘Comitology’ as Revolution – Infranationalism, Constitutionalism and Democracy”, in Joerges, Christian and Vos, Ellen (eds), EU Committees: Social Regulation, Law and Politics (Oxford: Hart Publishing 1999), pp. 337 et sqq., at p. 342.

60 For example, Joerges, Christian, “Integration through De-Legalisation? An Irritated Heckler”, 7 European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) (2003).

61 See Kjaer, Poul F., “Rationality within Reach? On Functional Differentiation as the Structural Foundation of Legitimacy in European Chemicals Regulation”, 18 EUI Working Papers (Law) (2007).

62 For an instructive analysis of the inclusiveness of Reach both during the negotiation, decision and implementation phases see Heyvaert, Veerle, “The EU Chemicals Policy: Towards Inclusive Governance?”, 7 LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Papers (2008), which concludes that the levels of inclusiveness in general are far better under Reach than the previous regime although it still falls short of providing full equality between stakeholders such as NGOs.

63 For example, Molyneux, Candido Garcia, “IV. Chemicals”, in The Yearbook of European Environmental Law, Vol. 6 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2006).

64 Veerle Heyvaert, “Guidance Without Constraint: Assessing the Impact of the Precautionary Principle on the European Community’s Chemicals Policy”, in Yearbook of European Environmental Law, supra note 63.

65 Commission Communication on the Precautionary Principle COM (2000)1 Final, 2 February 2000.

66 Ibid., pp. 21 et sqq.

67 Luhmann, Niklas, Legitimation durch Verfahren (Neuwied: Luchterhand 1978); Rechtssoziologie, Band 2 (Berlin: Rowohlt Taschenbuch 1972), at p. 259 ; Ausdifferenzierung des Rechts, Beiträge zur Rechtssoziologie und Rechtstheorie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 1981), at pp. 132 et sqq.

68 For the concept of asymmetry and its theoretical implications see Kjaer, Poul, “Systems in Context: On the Outcome of the Habermas/Luhmann-debate”, Ancilla Iuris (2006), pp. 66 et sqq., at p. 75.

69 For example, Ladeur, Karl-Heinz, “Discursive Ethics as Constitutional Theory. Neglecting the Creative Role of Economic Liberties?”, 13(1) Ratio Juris (2000), pp. 95 et sqq.

70 Luhmann, Niklas, “‘Was ist der Fall?’ und ‘Was steckt dahinter’? Die zwei Soziologien und die Gesellschaftstheorie”, 22 Zeitschrift für Soziologie (1993), pp. 345 et sqq.

71 Kjaer, “Systems in Context”, supra note 68, at p. 75.

72 Ibid., at p. 69.

73 The Lisbon Treaty introduces a distinction between delegated and implementing acts and reduces the scope of Comitology to the latter. How this change will affect the Comitology system in the long term remains to be seen.

* I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for many useful suggestions and comments. Responsibility remains with the author.

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A Hybrid within a Hybrid: Contextualising REACH in the Process of European Integration and Constitutionalisation

  • Poul F. Kjaer (a1)

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