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Brussels, 15 December 2010

Commission welcomes decision by European Parliament and Council to repeal eight outdated metrology directives

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani welcomes the European Parliament's decision to repeal eight metrology directives. The Commission proposal is therefore adopted as the vote of the European Parliament confirms a first reading agreement with the Council. The reason to repeal the legal acts is that they are no longer necessary, technically outdated and/or applied more seldom, as in the case of the directive on weights for use on non-automatic weighing scales. The directives were laid out in the 1970’s with the aim of harmonising legislation at a time when the different legislation of Member States constituted barriers to trade within the internal market.

Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “Technological progress is a characteristic of most industrial goods and measuring instruments are no exception. I am satisfied to see that the European Parliament followed the Commission’s proposal to repeal these outdated pieces of legislation, simplifying and reducing the administrative burden put on European companies. The Commission will carry out a review of measuring instruments in 2011 and, if needed, do proposals in line with the principles of smart regulation.”

The eight concerned directives regulate mechanical measuring instruments prescribing detailed technical specifications. Sectors concerned are Cold Water Meters for Non-Clean Water, Alcohol Meters and Alcohol Tables, Medium and Above-Medium Accuracy Weights, Tyre Pressure Gauges for Motor Vehicles, as well as Standard Mass of Grain and Calibration of Ship Tanks.

International standards already fully cover these old instruments as well as most of their technically more advanced replacements. The WTO-TBT agreement (agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade) binds Member States to base their laws on international standards. The EU Treaty requires Member States to mutually recognise equivalent products legally marketed in one Member State.

During the legislative process to repeal the eight directives, arguments in favour of continued harmonisation have been brought forward. The Commission will consider these arguments in its review of measuring instruments planned for spring 2011 and submit, if appropriate, a proposal in line with the principles of smart regulation.

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