After months of hesitation, the European Commission decided that the cosmetics industry had to observe the final deadline of 11 March 2013 to cease all animal testing for cosmetics products if they wish to market their products in Europe.

Directive 2003/15/EC on cosmetic products establishes a phase-out of animal testing as follows: in 2004, the testing ban for finished cosmetics entered into force; March 2009 marked the entry into force of the ban on testing ingredients on animals in Europe and marketing cosmetics manufactured elsewhere containing ingredients tested on animals; a derogation is nonetheless allowed for tests related to complex toxicological effects, such as toxicity from repeated doses, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics; as of 11 March 2013, or ten years after the directive's entry into force, the ban became total.

As the 2013 deadline approached, the industry repeatedly advised regulators that it was unable to meet it for lack of alternative methods and pressed for a postponement of the measure. The directive had anticipated this development and states that if, "for technical reasons, one or more tests [...] will not be developed and validated," the Commission can present a legislative proposal. In September 2011, the Commission indicated that it would be impossible to develop alternative testing methods by 2013. In its annual progress report on alternative methods, presented to the European Parliament on 31 January 2012, it even explained the conditions under which exemptions could be considered. In June 2012, John Dalli also said he supported an exemption for certain firms.

Meanwhile, though, the Directorate-General Health and Consumer Policy came under a new commissioner. Tonio Borg took over Dalli's portfolio and during his 13 November 2012 hearing before the EP he committed to enforce the deadline with no derogations.


In a communication published on 11 March, the Commission justifies this decision on the basis of three factors: postponement of the ban...

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