Extracts of the EP debate on marketing of products, with the participation of Günter Verheugen
End production: 19/02/2008 First transmission: 19/02/2008
On 19 February 2008, the plenary session of the EP opened with a joint debate on the marketing of products, with three legislative reports being debated. The free movement of goods within the EU is expected to speed up following a legislative package being put forward by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection. The reports relate to three Commission proposals on mutual recognition and market surveillance. It is estimated that EU rules on mutual recognition apply to 75% of the internal market and trade worth 1500 billion Euros. This "mutual recognition" principle means that EU Member States may not refuse entry to goods from another Member State if they are already legally sold there. The aims of the reports to be debated are to remove barriers to mutual recognition; to ensure that goods flow around the 27 Member States bloc as easily as possible; to shift the burden of proof to Member States; to establish EU-wide procedures if EU States want to limit or not to apply the principle of mutual recognition; to define the rights and obligations of businesses and governments.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
||André Brie, Member of the EP, (in GERMAN) saying that the Commission's suggestion basically concentrates on improving market surveillance, and this is something that the EP approves; moreover, they want the Member States and the surveillance authorities to have to work much more closely with customs authorities, they want a stronger duty of information and transparency; he is glad that the Council and Commission have agreed with the Parliament on this
||Christel Schaldemose, Member of the EP, (in DANISH) saying that the whole distribution supply chain, so everybody who is in contact with the product, is responsible and liable for the product living up to the EU's requirements; they are talking about the producers in China, the importers in Cologne and the distributors in Copenhagen; this means that nobody can absolve themselves of liability or responsibility if the product does not comply with EU rules
||Alexander Stubb, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH) on the procedural matters they've changed; saying that before, it took a small and medium sized or a large company two to three years to fight a case on mutual recognition in the Court; now, that's not really necessary anymore, because they've shifted the burden of proof to the Member States; basically, in a procedure of 20 to 60 days, the Member State has to provide evidence that a particular rule does not apply in another Member State; what he wants to tell to all SMEs in Europe is to never ever again fill in a form where they apply to enter a market of another country; the goods move freely
||Arlene McCarthy Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH) saying that she has two products: one is a toy seal, one is an eclectic kettle, one has no CE mark (the toy) and one has the CE mark (the kettle); so they assume that the seal does not comply with the EU toys directive, and the kettle complies with the electrical equipment directive; however, consumers are confused; they believe that this kettle is safe, but the CE mark does not mean it is safe, it means that it conforms with the directive on electrical equipment, and that is why they ask the assembly to examine these questions: to examine the concept of the supplementary marking aiming at enhancing consumer information on product safety; to carry out an in-depth study in order to clarify the feasibility, the possible benefits and the potential drawbacks for such a marking for all stake holders, including business and consumers; and to examine the possibilities to reinforce the credibility of the CE marking through measures for stronger customs control inside and outside the EU with third countries; and to make sure that they end consumers confusion as regards the CE marking
||Andrej Vizjak, Slovenian Minister for Economy and President in office of the Council of the EU, (in SLOVENIAN) saying that the package clarifies in a detailed way for Member States what they can and cannot do as far as the products they want to market are concerned; consumers are aware of what they can expect from the national authorities they are aware of the time scale required for cases to be handled when we are looking at products for which there is no harmonised community legislation; and they are also aware of the procedures for possible withdrawal of a product from the market
||Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry, (in GERMAN) saying that what the consumer wants to know is: "is my product safe?"; he entirely agrees and the Commission entirely agrees with the Parliament that the whole system of the 'EC marking' has now to be reviewed
||Cutaways (4 shots)