Protocols to the Europe Agreements
The Europe Agreements are the basic accords governing bilateral relations between the European Union and their Member States and each candidate country in central and eastern Europe. Under the terms of the Europe Agreements, candidate countries for EU membership should approximate their legislation to that of the Union.
In the field of industrial standards and conformity assessment, the Europe Agreements aim to achieve the candidate countries' full conformity with Union technical regulations and European standardisation and conformity assessment procedures. They also envisage the conclusion of agreements on mutual recognition in these fields.
The European Union therefore negotiated Protocols to the Europe Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (PECAs) with a number of countries that acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 - Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, the Slovak Republic and Estonia. PECAs can be considered as the major instrument of the pre-accession strategy in the field of the free movement of goods. They create an enlarged internal market for products in certain industrial sectors prior to accession, on the basis of the sectors identified by the acceding countries. Formal negotiations on PECAs are ongoing with the candidate countries Bulgaria and Romania.
Directorate General Trade is the Commission service responsible for the negotiation of PECAs, although almost all of the sectors concerned fall within the competence of the Directorate General Enterprise and Industry.