Brussels, 21 June 2012
Free movement of goods: Commission requests Finland to withdraw legislation on calibration of ships' tanks
The European Commission has requested Finland to comply with its obligations under EU law to repeal national legislation on the calibration of ships' tanks that implemented a Directive dating from 1971 (71/349/EEC). The deadline for Member States to repeal this legislation was 1 July 2011.
The obligation to withdraw national legislation on the calibration of ships' tanks was imposed by a Directive (2011/17/EU) that repeals 8 Council Directives regarding metrology in order to simplify and reduce the administrative burden on European companies.
The request to Finland takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Finland does not inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with its obligations, the Commission may decide to refer Finland to the EU's Court of Justice.
Apart from the Directive on the calibration of ships' tanks, the 2011 Directive also repealed Directives regulating mechanical measuring instruments prescribing detailed technical specifications as regards cold water meters for non-clean water, alcohol meters and alcohol tables, medium and above-medium accuracy weights, tyre pressure gauges for motor vehicles and a standard mass of grain (see IP/10/1724). However, the deadline for withdrawing legislation in these seven other areas is 1 December 2015.
The reason to repeal the eight legal acts in the area of legal metrology was that they were no longer necessary, technically outdated and/or applied infrequently. The Directives were adopted in the 1970s with the aim of harmonising legislation at a time when Member States' differing legislation constituted barriers to trade within the Single Market.
In the meantime international standards fully cover the rules laid down in the eight Directives as well as most of their technically more advanced replacements. The World Trade Organisation 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. The eight metrology Directives are therefore no longer necessary to ensure the free movement of goods within the Single Market and simply impose an administrative burden on companies.