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Glossary

Blocking (98/34 procedure)

Reaction sent by the Commission on a draft notified if the Commission has started harmonization works or intends to do so in the area covered by the notified draft. This reaction extends the standstill period which shall reach 12 months and can, in some cases, even reach 18 months.

CENELEC

European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (Comité Européen de Normalisation Electronique)

CIA Security judgement

In this judgement, the European Court of Justice concluded that national courts must decline to apply a national technical regulation which has not been notified in accordance with Directive 98/34/EC (Case C-194/94 of 30 April 1996).

Comments

Reaction sent by the Commission, or by any Member State, on a draft notified under the procedure laid down by Directive 98/34/EC. This reaction does not extend the initial standstill period.

Committee (98/34 procedure)

Standing Committee consisting of representatives appointed by the Member States who may call on the assistance of experts or advisers; its chairman is a representative of the Commission.

Confidentiality

At the express request of the notifying Member State , which shall support any such request by reasons, the information supplied under the procedure laid down by Directive 98/34/EC is treated as confidential. The documents transmitted will then not be made available on the TRIS website.

Conformity assessment procedure (TBT procedure)

Any procedure used, directly or indirectly, to determine that relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards are fulfilled.

Detailed opinion

Reaction sent by the Commission, or by a Member State , on a draft notified under the procedure laid down by Directive 98/34/EC if this envisaged measure may affect the functioning of the internal market. This reaction extends the standstill period by three additional months for notifications relating to products and one additional month for notifications on information society services.

Draft standard (98/34 procedure)

Document containing the text of the technical specifications concerning a given subject, which is being considered for adoption in accordance with the national standards procedure, as that document stands after the preparatory work and as circulated for public comments or scrutiny.

EFTA

European Free Trade Association

ETSI

European Telecommunications Standards Institute

Fiscal/financial measures (98/34 procedure)

Draft technical specifications which are linked to fiscal or financial measures affecting the consumption of products or services by encouraging compliance with such technical regulations. There is no standstill period for notified draft fiscal or financial measures.

Goods

The term 'goods' has enormous scope - essentially it includes any product that has economic value. Thus pharmaceuticals, vehicles, foodstuffs, textiles, construction products and cosmetics are all goods.

Harmonised sector

The harmonised sector relates to areas, product regulations etc. that are covered by Community legislation. Harmonisation can be partial or full.

Information society service

Any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services (the full definition of this notion is laid down in Directive 98/34/EC as modified by Directive 98/48/EC).

Infringement proceedings

In its role as "guardian of the Treaty", the Commission might start legal proceedings against a Member State if this State is deemed to have failed to comply with its obligations under Community law.

Mutual recognition principle

In the area of free movement of goods mutual recognition means that products that are accepted in one Member State should generally also be accepted in all the other Member States, subject to certain justified public policy exemptions. The Mutual recognition principles should not be confused with Mutual recognition agreements (MRAs).

Non-harmonised sector

In non-harmonised sectors Community legislation does not (yet) exist. However, general rules of the EC-Treaty, such as the principle of free movement of goods, have to be respected in the non-harmonised area.

Parallel import

Parallel trade is in that sense 'parallel' that it involves products that are (largely) identical to products marketed through manufacturers' or original suppliers' distribution networks but takes place outside (often alongside) those networks. Parallel trade is lucrative in case of price differences between Member States; it is a regular phenomenon in many products, but especially in trade with pharmaceuticals and plant protection products.

Product Contact Points

Designated information points in each Member State, mainly for economic operators that provide free of charge information concerning national technical rules applicable in that Member State.

Single or internal market

The EU's single or internal market is a market where goods, services, capital and people can circulate freely. The free movement of goods principle requires that national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU be removed. Articles 34 to 36 of the TFEU prohibit quantitative restrictions on imports, exports or goods in transit and all similar restrictive measures between member countries. All measures capable of hindering directly or indirectly such imports are considered to be quantitative restrictions.

SOLVIT

SOLVIT is a network created by the Commission and the Member States, with the aim of solving problems that arise for individual citizens and businesses as a result of the misapplication of Community law (ec.europa.eu/solvit).

SPS

Agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary measures

Standard (TBT procedure)

A technical specification approved by a recognised standardisation body for repeated or continuous application with which compliance is not compulsory and which is one of the following :

  • international standard : a standard adopted by an international standardisation organisation and made available to the public;
  • European standard : a standard adopted by a European standardisation body and made available to the public;
  • national standard : a standard adopted by a national standardisation body and made available to the public.
Standstill period (98/34 procedure)

There is an initial three-months period during which the notifying Member State cannot adopt its notified draft. This period enables other Member States and the Commission to examine the notified draft in detail and to send a reaction (comments, detailed opinion, blocking) to the notifying Member State, if deemed necessary. This standstill period may be extended if there is a detailed opinion or a blocking.

Strawberry Regulation

"Nickname" for Regulation 2679/98, given that it was triggered by a Court case of the European Court of Justice (C-265/95) dealing with violent and non-violent acts of French farmers against imported agricultural products, such as strawberries.

TBT

Technical Barriers to Trade

TBT Committee

The Committee set up on the basis of article 13 of the TBT Agreement. It is composed of representatives from each of the Members. The Committee meets as necessary, but no less than once a year, for the purpose of affording Members the opportunity of consulting on any matters relating to the operation of this Agreement or the furtherance of its objectives.

Technical regulation (98/34 procedure)

Technical specifications and other requirements or rules on services, the observance of which is compulsory in the case of marketing, provision of a service, establishment of a service operator or use in a Member State, as well as provisions of Member States prohibiting the manufacture, importation, marketing or use of a product or prohibiting the provision or use of a service, or establishment as a service provider.

Technical regulation (TBT procedure)

Document which lays down product characteristics or their related processes and production methods, including the applicable administrative provisions, with which compliance is mandatory. It may also include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, packaging, marking or labelling requirements as they apply to a product, process of production method.

TRIS

Technical Regulations Information System

Unilever judgement

In this judgement (based on the CIA Security judgement), the European Court of Justice concluded that the adoption of technical regulations during the standstill period constitutes a breach of Directive 98/34/EC which renders these technical regulations inapplicable, so that they are unenforceable against individuals (Case C-443/98 of 26 September 2000).

Urgency (98/34 procedure)

There is no standstill period when, for urgent reasons occasioned by serious and unforeseeable circumstances relating to the protection of public health or safety, the protection of animals or the preservation of plants and for rules on services also for public policy, notably protection of minors, a Member State is obliged to prepare technical regulations in a very short space of time in order to enact and introduce them immediately without consultation being possible. The notifying Member States shall give reasons for the urgency of the measures to be taken. The Commission shall give as soon as possible its views on such a request to use the urgency procedure.

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation is an international organisation that sets global rules of trade between nations. It was set up in 1995 and brings together 153 governments and political entities such as the EU. The legal basis for the EU's common trade policy is Article 133 of the EC Treaty. A special committee meets on a weekly basis to coordinate EU trade policy.

The EU & the WTO

Tariff & non-tariff barriers

WTO (OMC)

World Trade Organisation

(Organisation Mondiale du Commerce)

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