EU internal market - The 98/34 notification procedure
According to Directive 98/34/EC, Member States notify to the Commission all their technical regulations related to products and information society services at a draft stage (the directive also applies to standards).
The 98/34 notification procedure and its objectives
Following notification, the notifying Member State has to await the end of a period of three months (so called "standstill period") before adopting its notified draft.
During this period other Member States and the Commission examine the notified draft and may react. The Commission and the notifying Member State engage in a dialogue aiming - through a preventive control - at eliminating any obstacles to the smooth functioning of the Internal Market, before they even appear, thus avoiding retroactive action, which is always negative and cumbersome.
In addition to prevention, the 98/34 notification procedure gives all Member States the opportunity to learn how others approach a certain problem, which legislative solutions have been retained and if these triggered reactions from the Commission and the other Member States.
The Directive 98/34/EC is also a tool of Better Regulation as it helps to improve the quality of national legislation and contributes to the reduction of administrative burdens and to the simplification of national legislation.
And above all, the 98/34 notification procedure enables enterprises in the European Union to benefit from the advantages of the Internal Market.
Participation of the economic operators
The notified drafts and their translations in all EU languages are communicated to the Member States and are available to the public on the TRIS (Technical Regulations Information System) database.
Enterprises can subscribe to the 98/34 mailing list and receive automatically in their mailboxes all new notifications in the area(s) of their choice. They have the possibility to communicate to the Member States and to the European Commission their concerns on a given notified draft. The position papers should be sent well ahead the end of the standstill period in order to be taken into account during the analysis of the notified draft.
Results of the procedure
The results of the 98/34 procedure are very positive, as in more than 95 % of cases, solutions which are in line with EU law are found before the adoption of the notified texts.
The last report on the operation of Directive 98/34/EC in 2009-2010 was published on 7 December 2011 (COM(2011) 853 final ).
DG Enterprise and Industry, Unit C/3, is responsible for Directive 98/34/EC and co-ordinates the position of the Commission with all Commission services.