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Better protection for consumers - 13/02/2013

Package of proposals would further strengthen the EU’s product-safety laws and address new, emerging threats.

The marketplace for consumer products is becoming increasingly sophisticated – people are buying more-complex products, manufactured in a greater range of countries.

In response, the EU needs to update its approach to protecting shoppers from unsafe products. The Commission’s proposals would strengthen consumer protection by:

  • speeding up the removal of dangerous products from the EU market
  • aligning consumer safety rules and market-surveillance procedures for most products by removing many of the distinctions made by current rules
  • clarifying the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers and distributors – they would have to provide more information about where products were manufactured
  • improving the ability of regulators to track consumer products along the supply chain – resulting in a more effective response to safety problems and faster recalls
  • reinforcing controls so regulators can more easily restrict the sale of potentially unsafe products or ban them altogether
  • creating a more collaborative approach among EU regulators – making it easier for them to share information
  • streamlining procedures for notifying other countries of dangerous products through EU-wide alert networks (Rapex & ICSMS).

Consumers will gain from a higher level of protection with a consistent set of EU-wide rules – allowing them to shop with greater confidence in any EU country.

Companies will also benefit from clearer and more consistent rules across the EU. It will be easier to comply, reducing costs, especially for small businesses.

Better product safety checks and import rules will help to eliminate unfair competition from dishonest or rogue suppliers.

Next steps

As part of the package, the Commission is starting work to improve market surveillance. Gaps in the way products are monitored will be eliminated over the next three years.

National regulators will get help pooling resources, eliminating duplication and becoming more efficient at monitoring the market.

The proposals will now go before the European Parliament and EU leaders for consideration, with implementation planned for 2015.

More on consumer safety

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