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).
Technical rules developed at national level may create unnecessary obstacles to intra-EU trade. The Commission aims to
The mutual recognition principle should not be mistaken for mutual recognition agreements that facilitate access to markets between the EU and non-EU countries.
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 how to apply mutual recognition in individual cases. It includes
Product contact points are established in each EU country to provide free advice related to the mutual recognition regulation within 15 working days.
The following guidance documents were available for the repealed Regulation 764/2008: