Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Safe products in the EU Single Market: Commission acts to reinforce trust

Safe products in the EU Single Market: Commission acts to reinforce trust
Published on: 19/12/2017
Today the Commission is tabling two legislative proposals to make it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to sell their products across Europe, and to strengthen controls by national authorities and customs officers to prevent unsafe products from being sold to European consumers.

Today's initiatives are designed to improve two aspects of the free flow of goods in the EU:

Making it easier to sell a product in another EU country

The 'mutual recognition' principle ensures that products not subject to EU-wide regulation can, in principle, move freely within the Single Market, if they are lawfully marketed in one EU country. This principle should allow manufacturers to sell their products across Europe without any additional requirements. But this doesn't always work as it should. In practice, companies wishing to sell products such as shoes, tableware or furniture in another EU country often face barriers, delays and extra costs. To make the principle faster, simpler and clearer in practice, the Commission proposes a new Regulation on the Mutual Recognition of Goods. Companies will know if their products can be sold in another EU country in a couple of months, rather than years. They will also be able to use a voluntary declaration to demonstrate that their products meet all the relevant requirements in their country. This will make it easier for authorities of other EU countries to assess whether or not mutual recognition should apply. Similarly, a problem resolution mechanism will allow for a faster resolution of disputes between companies and national authorities. Training and exchanges among officials will further improve collaboration and trust among national authorities. This will not prevent national authorities from taking legitimate public policy concerns into account.

Strengthen controls by national authorities to ensure that products are safe and comply with the rules

There are still too many unsafe and non-compliant products sold on the EU market: as many as 32% of toys, 58% of electronics, 47% of construction products or 40% of personal protective equipment inspected do not meet the requirements for safety or consumer information foreseen in EU legislation. This endangers consumers and puts compliant businesses at a competitive disadvantage. The draft Regulation on Compliance and Enforcement will help create a fairer internal market for goods, through fostering more cooperation among national market surveillance authorities. This will include sharing information about illegal products and ongoing investigations so that authorities can take effective action against non-compliant products. The Regulation will also help national authorities to improve checks on products entering the EU market. Since 30% of goods in the EU are imported, the Commission further proposes to reinforce inspections of ports and external borders.

Next steps

The draft Regulations will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. Once adopted, they will be directly applicable.

Full press release: Safe products in the EU Single Market: Commission acts to reinforce trust