BTA News

Bulgarian MEPs Make Breakthrough in Defending Rose Oil Industry

The European Parliament (EP) will work against any new EU legislation on essential oils and will ask the European Commission (EC) to wait at least six years before publishing a report on their impact on human health, the GERB party said in a press release on Wednesday. The news was reported after an EP plenary session in Strasbourg, where, according to GERB, the Bulgarian MEPs from all political groups acted in unison and together swayed an EP vote in favour of a Bulgarian proposal to revise the European legislature’s tentative position on essential oils ahead of trilateral meetings with the European Commission (EC) and the EU Council.

According to the earlier EP position, the EC would be asked to come up with a new legislative proposal on essential oils in four years’ time, based on a report on their characteristics and health effects. Now, the revised position implies that the EP will use the trilateral talks to press against any new legislation on the labelling and classification of Bulgarian rose oil and against an EC report until after six years instead of four.

Under EC-proposed amendments to the Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals, essential oils would be classified as potentially dangerous because they contain elements which, under specific circumstances, could have an adverse effect on human health. In its reasoning for the proposed changes, the EC refers to the Green Deal, arguing that when essential oils seep into the soil (for instance, after the use of cosmetic products), they pollute the environment, GERB said.

As a major rose oil producer, Bulgaria has been lobbying EU authorities to keep the existing approach to the classification of essential oils. The Bulgarian view was set forth by Agriculture and Food Minister Kiril Vatev at a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on June 26-27. Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, who is a world-renowned scientist in the field of chemistry and physicochemistry, strongly defended Bulgarian rose oil and other natural essential oils at a European Council meeting on June 30. Denkov noted that, to determine whether a substance is harmful, it is necessary to consider not only what the substance is, but also its concentration. He said the word “concentration” was missing from the text of the regulation. The Prime Minister asked EC President Ursula von der Leyen to make sure that the text is made more accurate, because “it is not scientific, although it should be”.

On June 30, the EU Council approved a legislative proposal to keep the existing approach to the classification of essential oils.