Following concerns raised at the Informal Environment Council in Chester (April 1998), about the lack of information on chemicals and the operation of EU legislation on chemicals, the Commission launched a review of EU policy in this field. A report on the four main Community legal instruments was completed in November 1998, SEC (1998) 1986. This was followed by a Brainstorming of Stakeholders held on 22 February 1999 (WRC Report Ret EU 47/9). Together, these contributed to the conclusions reached by the Environmental Council on 26 June 1999, Council Document 11265/99 [18 KB] . In the conclusions the Council invited the Commission to come forward with proposals for a new strategy on chemicals by the end of 2000.
The White Paper on a strategy for a future chemicals policy, which was adopted on 13 February 2001, is the Commission's response to the Council's request. It takes account of the Communication on the Competitiveness of the Chemical Industry, COM (1996) 187, and the Communication on the Precautionary Principle, COM (2000) 1 . It also draws upon the various submissions made by stakeholders, the analyses made in several Member States and several meetings organised in Member States. The White Paper was produced under co-responsibility between the Commission's Directorate Generals for Environment and Enterprise.
On 2 April 2001, a Stakeholders' Conference took place on the subject of the White Paper. The Business Impact of the new Chemicals Policy was discussed at another Stakeholders' Conference on 21 May 2002. Commissioners Wallström and Liikanen delivered the opening speeches to both of these conferences. The contributions of the stakeholders can be found at each of the conference links.