Binnenmarkt, Industrie, Unternehmertum und KMU

Mutual recognition of goods

Mutual recognition of goods

The mutual recognition principle ensures market access for goods that are not, or are only partly subject to EU harmonisation legislation. It guarantees that any good lawfully sold in one EU country can be sold in another. This is possible even if the good does not fully comply with the technical rules of the other country (although there may be exceptions where public safety, health or the environment are concerned). 

What the European Commission does

Technical rules developed at national level may create unnecessary obstacles to intra-EU trade. The Commission aims to

  • guarantee the free movement of goods
  • make sure EU countries accept goods lawfully marketed in another EU country unless very specific conditions are met (these conditions relate to the protection of public safety, health or the environment)

The mutual recognition principle should not be mistaken for mutual recognition agreements that facilitate access to markets between the EU and non-EU countries.

How does the principle work?

The principle stems from Articles 34-36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and is further defined in Regulation (EU) 2019/515 on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another country. Regulation 2019/515 applies from 19 April 2020 and replaces Regulation (EC) No 764/2008. It defines the rights and obligations in relation to the mutual recognition principle for competent authorities and businesses when selling goods in another EU country.

The regulation outlines rules and procedures on the application of the mutual recognition principle in individual cases. It includes

  • a well-defined assessment procedure to be followed by competent authorities when assessing goods
  • obligatory elements to be included in an administrative decision that restricts or denies market access
  • a voluntary ‘mutual recognition declaration’, which businesses can use to demonstrate that their products are lawfully marketed in another EU country (practical advice on mutual recognition declaration is available)
  • a business-friendly problem solving procedure, based on SOLVIT, that includes the possibility of an assessment from the Commission on the compatibility of a decision restricting or denying market access with EU law
  • stronger administrative cooperation to improve the application of the mutual recognition principle
  • more information to businesses through reinforced 'product contact points' (see below) and the 'single digital gateway'

Product contact points

Product contact points are established in each EU country to provide free advice related to the mutual recognition regulation within 15 working days.

Guidance documents for Regulation 764/2008

The following guidance documents were available for the repealed Regulation 764/2008:

Contact us

grow-mutual-recognition@ec.europa.eu