The evaluation is part of a Commission excercise to ensure that EU legislation is suitable for emerging digital technologies and innovative products. Technology is developing rapidly and Europe needs to seize the opportunities ahead.
The results published today show that both directives are fit for purpose and conducive to innovation.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "European industry is competitive, not only because we have great innovative minds, but also because we have a conducive framework. We are happy to see that our existing legislation is fit for purpose in a changing world. It makes our EU products both safe and competitive. Technology changes fast, so we will continue to monitor the situation and are ready to act if the need arises."
The Machinery Directive sets general health and safety requirements for products, such as robots or 3D printers. Which technical solutions should be deployed to meet the high safety level is then left to manufacturers. For this reason, the directive functions like an umbrella framework leaving leeway for products to be innovated. The Commission will launch a study to further look into certain aspects of emerging technologies, such as issues arising from human-machine collaboration, which are not explicitly addressed by the directive.
The Product Liability Directive foresees that if a product causes damage to a person or their private property, the producer is liable to pay compensation. The evaluation shows that the directive continues to strike a good balance between consumer protection and encouraging innovation in the EU. The Commission will publish interpretative guidance in mid-2019 to facilitate a common understanding between EU countries and to further clarify to what extent it applies to emerging technologies.
The reports come in addition to initiatives supporting industry modernisation, such as measures on artificial intelligence and an upcoming strategy on connected and automated driving.