European Court of Justice: Information on Substances Must Be Publicly Accessible

According to the EU Aarhus Regulation (EC No. 1367/2006), EU agencies must make the results of environmental tests on two pesticides accessible to the public. The European Court of Justice issued that decision on November 23. Public interest is more important than the confidentiality of corporate data, say the judges in their ruling.

The background to the cases involves disputes between various non-governmental agencies and the EU about publishing data on tests with pesticides, including glyphosate. In the past, the agencies always withheld certain details and stated that the data involved confidential corporate data.

The ruling could set a new direction and pave the way for access to information about other substances registered under REACH, even if they are not pesticides. That’s the opinion of legal expert Vito Buonsante of ClientEarth. He believes that every citizen has the right to access information on safety tests and how substances affect the environment and human beings.

Representatives of the European Chemical Industry Council (Conseil Européen de l’Industrie Chimique: CEFIC) see the decision as a dangerous precedent. Information that has long been considered confidential would now be easily accessible and damage the competitiveness of the companies involved.

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