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Slovakia

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2004 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 511 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 711 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1754 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1410 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1209 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

In its Opinion of July 1997, the Commission considered that Slovakia was gradually taking on the full acquis related to free movement of goods and had a solid record of compliance with the trade liberalisation provisions of the Europe Agreement. However, a tendency to revert to balance of payments restrictions coupled with slow progress towards legislative alignment and implementation of a compatible system of voluntary standardisation and conformity assessment attested to shortcomings in compliance with the provisions of the Europe Agreement. In the area of standards and certification, the Commission called on Slovakia to make considerable efforts to bring about change and full and effective implementation of the acquis in the medium term; it should also make sure, in areas not covered by Community harmonisation, that national laws were not liable to hamper trade and in particular that measures were proportionate to their objectives.

The November 1998 Report noted that progress in this field had been limited to certain sectors. Overall progress on "New Approach" legislation had been hampered by the inability to adopt a legislative framework and create corresponding infrastructure. The functions of regulation, standardisation, certification and accreditation needed to be separated.

In its November 1999 Report, the Commission regarded the adoption of a framework law in September 1999 on technical requirements and conformity assessment as a large step forward in the area of the free movement of goods. Other progress had also been made regarding standardisation as well as the transposition of Community technical legislation on pharmaceutical and textile products. However, Slovakia would have to continue to make efforts to transpose the other specific directives.

The November 2000 Report noted that Slovakia had made significant progress in the area of the free movement of goods but little progress in relation to the customs union.

The November 2001 Report considered that Slovakia had made good progress in the area of the free movement of goods and considerable progress on the chapter on customs union.

The October 2002 Report noted that Slovakia had progressed, in particular, in the areas of the New Approach, the Global Approach and public procurement and that significant progress had been made as regards the customs union.

The November 2003 Report ascertains that Slovakia is essentially meeting the requirements for membership but that progress still needs to be made in certain specific areas.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

Free movement of goods can only be achieved by removing measures which restrict trade - not only customs duties and quantitative restrictions but all measures with equivalent, i.e. protectionist, effect.

Where technical standards are not harmonised, the principle of mutual recognition of national rules applies (in line with the Cassis de Dijon judgment).

For the purpose of harmonisation, the European Community has developed the " New Approach ". Instead of imposing technical solutions, European Community legislation is limited to establishing the essential requirements that products must meet.

EVALUATION

As regards standardisation, mandatory standards, formerly used as regulatory instruments preventing the free movement of goods, have not been much used. In February 2001, the government adopted a resolution on standardisation, metrology, testing and conformity assessment, based on the Council Resolutions of October 1999 on the role of standardisation in Europe and on mutual recognition. In October 2001, the parliament adopted an amendment to the Act on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment. Further progress on the transposition of European harmonised standards has been made: as of September 2001, almost 70% of European standards had been adopted. A new law on market surveillance, in force since April 2002, has established the legal basis for the enforcement of CE marking.
The 2003 report notes that the implementing structures for standardisation, metrology, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance are all in place. Slovakia is still to adopt horizontal legislation introducing a mutual recognition clause covering existing legislation

However, the most important development has been the adoption of a new framework law on technical requirements and conformity assessment, implementing the key principles of the Community's New Approach. Its entry into force, on 1 January 2000, should allow the transposition of several specific New Approach directives. The 2001 report considered that the progress made in the areas covered by New Approach directives was particularly satisfactory, as demonstrated by the number of ordinances adopted. In 2003, Slovakia has transposed almost all of the sectoral legislation under the new approach and in general the legislative transposition has been found to be in line with the acquis.

As regards other specific directives, some progress has been made in the area of foodstuffs where new chapters of the Food Codex have been adopted. In addition, in the pharmaceutical products sector, measures have been taken to transpose the directives on good production and distribution practices and on testing and prices. As regards textile products, the directive on textile names has also been implemented. The 2002 report notes that progress has been made in the sectors covered by the Old Approach directives. In 2003, the transposition of the pharmaceutical acquis remains to be completed. To conclude, the 2003 report notes that in order to complete preparations for membership in this area, Slovakia needs to give priority to adopting the acquis in the remaining sectors.

This progress built upon that already achieved in previous years. In this regard, the transposition, since 1997, of the directives on construction materials, chemical products and medical devices through framework laws must not be forgotten, as well as the adoption of a regulation partially applying the acquis relating to cosmetics.

A new law on public contracts entered into force in January 2001. Although it complies with the acquis in general, some adjustments were nonetheless required in 2002.

Negotiations on the chapter on the free movement of goods were closed in December 2002. Slovakia has not requested any transitional arrangements in this area.

With regard to the negotiations on the adoption of the acquis relating to the customs union, the 2000 report noted that in the field of the Community Customs Code and its implementing provisions, a new Customs Act aimed at ensuring full alignment in this area had not yet been adopted. This new law, which removes the existing differences between Slovak legislation and the acquis, entered into force in July 2001. The report considers that Slovakia has almost completed the alignment of its customs legislation with the acquis. It has also made good progress on the administrative and operational structures required to implement the acquis. The 2003 report recommends that the Slovak authorities ensure that the computerisation projects are completed according to schedule.

Negotiations on this chapter were closed on December 2002. No transitional arrangements have been requested.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 23.02.2004
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