IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to adisclaimerand acopyright notice
 
Contact   |   Search  

 << HOME
   
Enlargement process
Acceding countries
Candidate countries
Potential candidate countries
Financial assistance

  Projects

Who does what?
Direct Access
Press corner
Enlargement videos
Picture gallery
Turkish Cypriot community
Chapter 1 - Free movement of Goods
Graphical element
 

December 2004

Background

Free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the internal market. The principle of the free movement of goods requires a common regulatory framework to ensure products can move freely from one part of the Union to another just as they would within the boundaries of an individual country. This means that basic technical standards, product certification and metrological definitions must be governed by rules established at European level. In fact, the rules governing these aspects can, most simply, be divided into two basic groups; products for which common harmonised standards have been adopted and products for which there are no harmonised standards. Thus, the greatest part of the acquis dealt with under this chapter is divided into "harmonised" and "non-harmonised" areas.

For products in the non-harmonised area, the guiding principle is that if a product can be legally sold on the market of one country in the Union, then it can be sold in all the countries of the Union. There are a number of specific exceptions to this basic rule, but these exceptions are limited in scope and enshrined in articles 28 to 30 of the European Community Treaty. These articles of the Treaty forbid member states from applying quantitative restriction on imports and exports of all goods except for the limited exceptions already mentioned. In interpreting the term quantitative restrictions, the principle is applied to all measures having an equivalent effect. Such measures include those designed to promote national production through preferences or by the imposition of technical requirement in addition to those adopted for products covered by harmonised European legislation. European legislation governing rules for public procurement are dealt with under this broad heading.

Harmonised European product legislation includes legislation covering conformity assessment bodies, accreditation bodies, standardisation, and market surveillance. These administrative structures provide the framework for the "new approach" to European product law. In essence, this new approach to harmonised product legislation is based on the principle of self-certification and the presumption of conformity with harmonised standards. The horizontal administrative structures necessary for the operation of this approach require a considerable change in administrative behaviour, moving away from prior authorisation to a series of control and surveillance procedures.

At the same time, a number of old approach directives remain in force covering a wide range of product groups such as pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and motor vehicles. These directives require the creation of certification and authorisation structures to administer European legislation.

Overall, the transposition of harmonised European product legislation represents the vast majority of the content of this chapter.

Without the full application of the EU legislation in this area from the first day of accession, the internal market will not function properly. Therefore the EU expects Candidate Countries to apply the acquis in this chapter at the latest by the date of accession.

The application of the, sometimes complex, EU legislation on goods poses a formidable challenge for Candidate Countries. It is important that Candidate Countries' administrative capacity is up to this challenge by the date of accession. In addition to transposing into national law European legislation in this area, the candidate countries need to create the administrative framework necessary to ensure the application of this legislation. In many cases, this requires a thorough reform of both product legislation and administrative traditions based on national preferences and controls. During the negotiations on this chapter, the EU has therefore also requested credible commitments on administrative capacity.

State of Play

The chapter has been closed in December 2002 with the 10 new member states and in December 2004 with Bulgaria and Romania. The EU has accepted transitional arrangements concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals with five countries and concerning medical devices for one country.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/key_documents/reports_2004_en.htm.

Country by country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: May 2001
  • Status: Closed in December 2004 (provisionallly closed June 2002)

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in November 2000)
  • Transitional arrangements: The EU has accepted one transitional arrangement, until 31 December 2005, concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals.

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 1999)
  • Transitional arrangements: None

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2000)
  • Transitional arrangements: None

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: None

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: None

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: May 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: The EU has accepted one transitional arrangement, until 1 January 2007, concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals.

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: May 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: The EU has accepted one transitional arrangement, until 31 December 2006, concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals.

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: The EU has accepted two transitional arrangements, until 31 December 2008, concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals and licences for medical devices issued under the current Polish legislation will remain valid until 31 December 2005.

Romania

  • Chapter opened: March 2002
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2003)
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: The EU has accepted one transitional arrangement until 31 December 2007, concerning the renewal of marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals.
updated: 17/12/2004
 
Top
 
 
White line