On 16 September, the German industry federation BDI sounded the alarm bell over the EU's plans for stricter legislation on chemical substances, stating the current proposals would lead to a loss of 1.7 million jobs.

After having consulted stakeholders in the course of 2001 on
its White Paper "Strategy for a future chemicals policy", the
Commission presented in May 2003 a first 1,200 pages outline of its
legislative proposals in a consultation document. It started an
8-weeks internet consultation on the workability of its proposals.
More than 6,400 comments were sent in, half of them coming from the
downstream user side.

The German industry, which had opposed the plans
from the start, asked corporate consultants Arthur D. Little for a
second economic assessment of the Commission's proposals. At the
end of 2002, Arthur D. Little had already undertaken a first study
based on the White Paper's orientations.

The results of the new study indicate that the
current proposals in the Commission's consultation paper would lead
to a gross value added loss of 4.7 per cent. More than 1.7 million
jobs would be at risk if the proposals were to become law.