If a business is lawfully selling a product in one EU country, it should be able to sell it in other EU countries without adapting it to the national rules of that country, even when there are no common European rules on how the product has to be manufactured (i.e. rules on the characteristics of the product, its size, composition, etc.). This is the principle of mutual recognition.
The right to sell a product, lawfully marketed in another EU country can only be refused when the destination EU country has diverging product requirements. In addition, the mandatory imposition of the requirements is justified when certain public interest are being protected, and those requirements are necessary and proportionate.
How mutual recognition works in practice is defined by Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 (the 'Mutual Recognition Regulation'). The Regulation establishes, among other things, Product Contact Points to assist businesses wishing to sell products which are already lawfully sold in other EU countries. It also establishes an obligation for national authorities to notify and justify any decision which denies mutual recognition and market access because of overriding national rules.
With this consultation the Commission sought the views of all interested parties on:
- the mutual recognition principle and its possible shortcomings
- the functioning of the Mutual Recognition Regulation
- potential options to be explored for the revision of the Mutual Recognition Regulation
The consultation consisted of an online questionnaire available in 23 official EU languages. A background document providing more details on mutual recognition (PDF, 183 kB) was available.
The consultation ended on 30 September 2016.
A copy of the questionnaire can be found below:
- for public authorities
- for businesses or business associations
- for citizens, consumer organisations or other stakeholders
The contributions to the public consultation have been published.