Enterprise and Industry
A European Commission proposal will simplify registration processes and reduce formalities associated with moving automobiles throughout the EU. This means that not just citizens, but also their vehicles will be given the green light to easily travel between Member States.
Stringent requirements are in place to ensure the safety of pressure equipment. Nevertheless, due to inconsistencies and loopholes in the existing rules, potentially harmful and non-compliant products have managed to find their way into the marketplace, leading to a loss of trust among consumers. The European Commission has proposed a set of common principles which will guarantee safer products and simplify the internal market, thus making life easier for European businesses.
A recent report shows that the European Commission’s 2009 initiative to harmonise chargers for mobile phones is yielding results. Thanks to the agreement, which was reached with mobile phone manufacturers through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the vast majority of new devices placed on the market today support a compatible charger based on Micro-USB technology. Unfortunately, the MoU expired at the end of 2012. But in an interview with Enterprise & Industry Magazine, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani explains that the Commission’s ambition to harmonise chargers has no expiration date.
Although we enjoy the free movement of goods in the internal market, more than 15 000 national technical regulations can make it difficult for enterprises to sell their products – from bicycles to foodstuffs – in other Member States. However, there is a preventive tool which enables enterprises to anticipate the creation of such barriers to trade: the notification procedure under Directive 98/34/EC, which requires new technical regulations to be put on hold before being adopted in order to avoid obstacles to trade.
For almost 30 years, products have been circulating freely in Europe based on the simple condition that producers can guarantee their products (e.g., hair dryers, toys, smartphones, TVs, washing machines, etc.) are safe. One of the ways in which this is achieved is to have the products tested and certified against the ’essential requirements’ of the applicable legislation by the bodies listed in the database called NANDO. These organisations provide conformity assessment services both inside and outside the EU, and thus protect Europe’s citizens and businesses.
European standards are integral to the internal market: They erase the confusion and inefficiency caused by divergent national standards and allow Member States to compete on a level playing field. In order to strengthen European standards, the European Commission welcomes small and medium-sized enterprises to offer their ideas and insights.
Effective market surveillance ensures that the rules of Europe’s Single Market are respected. This is vital for knowledge-intensive EU sectors, such as machinery, which must compete against low-cost – and sometimes low-quality – manufacturers. This was the subject of a recent conference, which also saw the launch of a Common Industry Platform for Market Surveillance.
By outlining clear requirements for goods and services, standards help protect consumers, create new and larger markets and boost innovation. The European Commission has put forward proposals to modernise the European standardisation system to meet the challenges of our ever faster changing world, thus contributing to the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Single Market is one of Europe’s key achievements, but it needs to be further strengthened in some areas so as to fully deploy its potential as creator of growth and jobs. In the field of registration of vehicles previously registered in another Member State, for example, the lack of harmonisation continues to act as a barrier to the free movement of goods, thus resulting in administrative burden for both businesses and citizens. With a view to addressing this issue, the European Commission recently launched a public consultation in order to get those most affected involved in finding a solution.
European consumers will soon have the convenience of a single charger for mobile phones produced by major manufacturers, thanks to new standards promoted by the European Commission. This agreement, involving 14 phone makers, will also benefit the environment by cutting waste.
The single market is a key driver of growth and jobs, but it needs timely and effective implementation of relevant legislation in order to function smoothly. As guardian of the EU Treaties, the European Commission monitors the application of EU law and investigates any infringements committed, so as to ensure that citizens and businesses can fully enjoy the benefits of the Union's basic principles, such as the free movement of goods.
The European Commission has launched an information campaign and a new website that explain the role and meaning of the CE marking both to consumers and professionals. It also provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide for professionals to how this familiar marking works and is implemented.