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Market surveillance

Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package: Safer products and more fair play in the internal market

The European Commission proposed on 13 February 2013 (see press release) to improve product safety in the EU by strengthening market surveillance in the Member States. This will benefit consumers and will protect businesses from unfair competition. Today, if market surveillance is ‘softer’ in some parts of the EU than others, weak spots are created which threaten the public interest and create unfair trading conditions. Furthermore, much of the risk derives from products entering the Union from third countries. There must be effective market surveillance along the entire length of the Union’s external borders. Therefore, the new package of new enforcement rules will help national market surveillance authorities to cooperate much better to ensure equal level playing field for businesses and safer products for consumers. To this end national authorities should also improve cooperation with their colleagues in other Member States, which will avoid double work as test results can be exchanged.

The package consists of:

  • A communication outlining the various elements of the package (COM(2013)74 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) )
  • A proposal for a Regulation on market surveillance of products (COM(2013)75 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) )
  • A multi-annual plan for market surveillance of products (COM(2013)76 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) )
  • A report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 (COM(2013)77 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) )
  • A proposal for a Regulation on consumer product safety (COM(2013)78 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) )
  • A Commission staff working document on accreditation (SWD(2013)35)
  • A Commission staff working document on market surveillance (SWD(2013)36)
  • Impact assessment and annexes (SWD(2013)33 and SWD(2013)33 Annexes)
  • Executive summary of the impact assessment (SWD(2013) 34)

See also information on Health and consumers site http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/product_safety_legislation/product_safety_and_market_surveillance_package/index_en.htm.

The objective of market surveillance is to ensure that products placed on the market do not endanger health, safety or any other aspect of protection of public interests.

In practice, market surveillance includes any necessary action (e.g. bans, withdrawals, recalls) to stop the circulation of products that do not comply with all the requirements set out in the relevant EU harmonisation legislation, to bring the products into compliance and to apply sanctions.

Market surveillance is vital to the smooth functioning of the Single Market. It is essential in protecting European consumers and workers against risks presented by non-compliant products. In addition, market surveillance helps to protect responsible businesses from unfair competition by unscrupulous economic operators who ignore the rules or cut corners.

The organisation of market surveillance at national level

EU legislation lays down specific requirements for the organisation of market surveillance. However, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, market surveillance is organised and carried out at national level. Member States are responsible for surveillance activities on their own territory.

The EU requirements

Regulation (EC) 765/2008 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) sets out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products.

The Regulation sets out clear obligations for market surveillance authorities, stipulating that they must have the necessary powers, resources and knowledge to properly perform their functions. The Regulation requires procedures to be put in place for following up complaints, monitoring accidents, verifying that corrective action has been taken and gathering scientific and technical knowledge concerning safety issues. In addition, Member States must establish, implement and periodically update national market surveillance programmes and review and assess the functioning of their surveillance activities at least every four years.

Regulation (EC) 765/2008 also defines market surveillance measures to be taken by the surveillance authorities. These include: organising random and spot checks; obtaining all necessary documentation from manufacturer to evaluate product conformity; when justified, entering manufacturers' premises and taking samples for testing, and in extreme cases destroying products. If authorities find products presenting a risk, they must alert other potential users of those products to reduce the risk of further injury or harm. Products which present a serious risk, requiring rapid reaction, must be recalled from the market or measures must be taken in order to ensure that they do not reach the market.

The Regulation includes clear obligations for Member States to ensure cooperation at national level among different authorities, at international level with other EU Member States and with the European Commission and any relevant Commission agencies.

List of national market surveillance authorities

Member States have provided the following information about national market surveillance authorities operating in their respective territories.

National market surveillance programmes

Member States have provided the following market surveillance programmes.

Reviews and assessments of market surveillance activities

Member States have provided the following reports on the functioning of market surveillance activities carried out in the 2010-2013 period.

Information and cooperation at EU level

Information exchange and effective cross-border co-operation between market surveillance authorities in different Member States is essential to ensure efficient, comprehensive and consistent market surveillance in the Single Market.

The following tools allow the pooling of information and cooperation at EU level:

  • Exchange of information - Rapid Information System (RAPEX):

If a surveillance authority spots a product which presents a risk and could have an effect outside the territory of its Member State, the information is transmitted to all EU Member States using the Rapid Information System (RAPEX). RAPEX is an alert system that facilitates the rapid exchange of information among Member States and the European Commission.

RAPEX was initially established under Directive 2001/95/EC on General product safety (GPSD) pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) for consumer goods and its scope was subsequently extended by Regulation (EC) 765/2008 pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) to include all harmonised goods. Thus, since 1 January 2010 it has been used to notify serious risks presented by consumer and professional products.

Every Friday, the Commission publishes a weekly overview of products presenting a serious risk (RAPEX notifications) or non-serious risk as reported by the national authorities.

See the latest notifications by clicking on the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/dyna/rapex/rapex_archives_en.cfm

  • General information support system:

The European Commission has developed a system for information exchange (the ICSMS - information and communication system market surveillance) which will include best practices, results of joint actions, details of non-compliant products and information on national market surveillance programmes, etc. This system will also reflect RAPEX notifications.

The public section of the system can be accessed by clicking on the following link: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/icsms/App/index.jsp.

  • Safeguard procedures:

Most Union product harmonisation legislation contains a safeguard procedure which obliges Member States to communicate any measures they take which restrict the free movement of a product on the basis that it presents a risk or is otherwise non-compliant. The safeguard procedure allows other Member States to express their views on the measures taken and ultimately enables the European Commission to evaluate the grounds for the national measures and decide whether they are justified.

  • Administrative Co-operation Groups:

The European Commission has created and facilitates discussions within Directive-specific Administrative Co-operation Groups (AdCos), composed of market surveillance experts. These groups enable national market surveillance experts to meet, share information and co-operate on practical matters related to the implementation of specific Directives.

Additional tools for market surveillance

Decision 768/2008/EC pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) on a common framework for the marketing of products contains provisions on market surveillance, including obligations of economic operators, and traceability and safeguard mechanisms.

Directive 2001/95/EC pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) on General product safety (GPSD) on the safety of consumer products.

Contact

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