Status of the RoHS Directive Revision

European Commission published its proposal

The European Commission proposal does not suggest adding substances to the ones already restricted but plans a review of HBCD and 3 phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP) for possible restriction at a later stage. It is also proposed to develop a methodology based on the REACH Regulation's existing process for restrictions. 

 Debate in the European Parliament

On 2 June, the Parliament's Environment Committee (ENVI) voted on amendments to the Commission's proposal.  In brief, they adopted amendments providing  a methodology for adding substances to Annex IV which is not consistent with REACH, the direct addition of some substances to Annex IV (nano-silver and long multi-walled carbon nanotubes), and an expansion of Annex III to 38 substances or groups, including organobromine.

The ENVI vote was just one step in the EU process and does not represent an agreed EU position. Indeed, EBFRIP is encouraged to learn that the European Commission and a majority of Member States in Council do not support adding families of substances to Annex III and are supporting the definition of a science-based methodology consistent with REACH for any addition of substances to the RoHS Directive

 A First Reading vote in the Parliament Plenary session on the draft Directive is scheduled for October 2010. It is expected that the Commission, Council and Parliament will review their contrasting positions in the coming weeks.

Council of Ministers currently reviewing the Commission proposal

In the meantime, the Council of Ministers is reviewing the Commission proposal and a Working Group meets regularly in closed session. We understand from current discussions that most Member States support the development of a science-based methodology as the basis for adding new substances in future. A first phase political agreement text from the Council could be approved as early as October 2010, after the Parliament's plenary vote.

A possible adoption of the RoHS Directive revision by early 2011

As the proposed texts from the Parliament and the Council are most likely to diverge on some major issues, the Parliament and the Council will need to work in parallel as of October 2010 to find mutual compromises with which both institutions are satisfied. A possible final text amending the RoHS Directive could then be adopted by the end of 2011 at the earliest.