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Brussels, 5th February 2008

New cosmetic regulation to strengthen product safety and to cut red tape

The European Commission has proposed to simplify the European law on cosmetics and: 27 transposing national pieces of legislation representing over 3500 pages of legal text will be replaced by one single regulation. The EU Cosmetics Directive from 1976 has become a “patchwork” of 55 amendments without coherent terminology. Today’s proposal aims at strengthening product safety while reducing costs for businesses. For example, requirements for product safety assessments are clarified and simplified notification rules for new cosmetics cut administrative costs for enterprises by 50%. The existing provisions on the ban and phasing-out of animal-tests for cosmetic products by 2009/2013 remain untouched.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policies, said: “The law on cosmetics is an example how a piece of EU legislation can be “ripe” for simplification. Working with 27 different transposing legislations is more costly and burdensome for the cosmetics industry than necessary. With today’s proposal we increase product safety while reducing administrative costs and scratching unnecessary legislation.”

The Cosmetics Directive sets the legal framework to ensure the safety of cosmetics. The differences in the 27 national transposing laws create additional costs for industry without contributing to product safety. Many provisions appear in the wrong context and the detailed regulation of individual substances used for cosmetics has proven very complex, resource-intensive and difficult to administer. With the proposal of a new Regulation the Commission pursues essentially two aims: ensuring a high level of safety of cosmetic products in the future by strengthening manufacturer responsibility and in-market control aspects while cutting unnecessary administrative burden. To this end, the Commission proposal leads to inter alia:

  • Clarified minimum requirements for the safety assessment of cosmetic products thus strengthening further the safety of cosmetic products placed on the EU market;
  • Rules for reporting of undesirable effects to the supervising authorities, product withdrawal, and coordination of enforcement among Member States authorities;
  • Simplified notification requirements which cut administrative costs for cosmetic companies by 50%;
  • Scratching of national laws and regulations amounting to over 3500 pages of legal text in the EU by introducing a single EU-law for cosmetics;
  • Rules for reporting of undesirable effects to the supervising authorities, product withdrawal, and coordination of enforcement among Member States authorities.


Cosmetics include products which are vital for the health and well-being of consumers such as sunscreen products, tooth paste and cleansing products. EU companies are world leader in this sector with over 3000 cosmetic manufacturers. The European market for cosmetic product is worth approx. 65 billion EUR and creates directly and indirectly over 350.000 jobs.

More information, as well as the text of the proposal and the impact assessment is available here: EN, DE, FR

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