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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Free movement of goods: Commission asks Spain to comply with EU rules on registration of ammunition

The European Commission has today requested that Spain amends its legislation on the registration and labelling of ammunition so as to ensure its compliance with EU rules on the free movement of goods. Spain currently requires the national registration and labelling of ammunition before it can be sold on the Spanish market. The Commission considers that this legislation is neither proportional nor necessary since it duplicates other obligatory controls and that the same results could be achieved by strictly applying international and European rules on ammunition. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Spain does not inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with its obligations under EU law, the Commission may decide to refer Spain to the EU's Court of Justice.

The Spanish Regulation on pyrotechnical products and ammunition (as expressed in Royal Decree 563/2010 of 7 May 2010) sets out the obligation for ammunition to be registered in a national catalogue and labelled in a specific way before it can be sold and placed on the Spanish market.

Ammunition imported into Spain is already subject to multiple obligations before entering the country such as the obligations of the international Convention for the reciprocal recognition of proof marks on small arms of 1 July 1969 and the obligations imposed by Council Directive 93/15/EEC on the harmonisation of provisions relating to the placing on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses.

The Commission considers that the objectives sought by Spain could be achieved through the strict application of Council Directive 93/15/EEC, without imposing new obligations on the imported ammunition. While the Commission encourages Member States to ensure public security in their territories, it believes that Spain could do so by measures that do not hinder the free movement of goods as established in Articles 34 and 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

More information

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/605

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