After several rounds of negotiations in both Strasbourg and Brussels, today an agreement was reached on asbestos reform in the EU.
Left MEP Nikolaj Villumsen (Red-Green Alliance, Denmark) said: “I am so happy that we have finally reached an agreement on strong asbestos reform throughout the EU. The agreement is broader and more comprehensive than what both the European Commission and the construction companies had hoped for. It is a clear victory for workers and it will improve protection for millions of Europeans.”
One of the most debated points in the asbestos reform has been a lowering of the limit value for how much asbestos may be in the air. The current EU value is 100,000 fibres/m3, a value that is now lowered to 2000 fibres/m3 after a transition period of 6 years.
A mandatory requirement for screenings before renovation and demolition was not achieved today. However the Commission has committed to putting forward an ambitious proposal in the autumn. “The battle must continue,” Villumsen insisted.
In addition to the significant win on the limit value, the reform contains a number of other core points which are absolutely fundamental, including mandatory training and authorisation for companies that handle asbestos. There are also new stricter requirements for outdoor and short-term work with asbestos. “So that there are no loopholes when, for example, roof tiles have to be removed,” said Villumsen.
The result of the negotiations must now be finally confirmed internally in both the Parliament and the Council before the final agreement can be signed and enter into force. However, no changes to the text are expected during that process.