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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 15 April 2014

Commission welcomes European Parliament vote for safer products and better market surveillance

The European Commission welcomes today's European Parliament vote in favour of new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the EU's internal market - including those imported from outside the EU - and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products. This will contribute to strengthening consumer protection. It will also create a level playing field for business by ensuring that responsible manufacturers do not suffer unfair competition from products which do not comply with European safety or environmental rules.

Unsafe products should not reach consumers or other users. Their improved identification and traceability will enable their quick removal from circulation within the EU. The new legislation will also help business and consumers by ensuring that a product's country of origin is indicated according to clear and unambiguous rules.

European Commission Vice-President @AntonioTajaniEU, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "I am pleased the Parliament has voted in favour of new measures for safer, compliant products, to both protect consumers from health risks and protect business from unfair competition. Consistent market surveillance across the EU is necessary to avoid weak spots which threaten the public interest and create unbalanced trading conditions. We now look to the Council to also approve these measures".

European Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica, added: "Consumer must be able to trust in the safety of products circulating in the Single Market. Today's vote of the Parliament is an important step to improve product safety and market surveillance and to step up the effectiveness of enforcement. Now it is crucial to find a solution with the Council to overcome the deadlock on the country-of-origin provision and to ensure the important package is adopted soon”

Improved product safety and market surveillance

The key changes approved by the European Parliament today are:

  • Clearer responsibilities and more coherent rules across all product sectors for manufacturers, importers and distributors, to ensure the safety of all consumer products. This also means lower compliance costs for businesses, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

  • A single set of coherent rules for market surveillance, providing more effective tools to national surveillance bodies enforce safety and take action against dangerous and non-compliant products. This means safe and compliant products throughout the EU with an even higher level of protection, enabling more consumer confidence in the internal market.

  • Improved traceability of consumer products – enabling swift and effective responses to safety problems. To achieve this manufacturers and importers will also have to ensure that products (or their packaging) bear an indication of the product's country of origin. For products manufactured in the EU, companies will have the choice of indicating either a particular EU country or the "EU" as the place of origin.

  • Creation of a more cooperative system of market surveillance across the EU. Better coordination of product safety checks means eliminating unfair competition from dishonest or rogue operators.

  • Streamlined procedures for the notification of dangerous products, and synergies between the existing Rapid Alert Information System (RAPEX) and the Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance (ICSMS).

For more detail see: IP/13/111: Safer products and a level playing field in the internal market

Next steps

The proposal will now be submitted to the Council for its final approval. Once adopted by the Council the new legislation is expected to come into effect in 2015. Its rules will be enforced by the national market surveillance authorities in EU countries.

Background

In the EU and the European Free Trade Area/European Economic Area countries, goods move freely and consumers and businesses can buy and sell to more than 490 million people.

EU consumer product safety rules and those concerning their ongoing surveillance in the market by national authorities form the basis for a safe single market. But these rules are currently scattered between different pieces of legislation, thus creating gaps and overlaps. With the agreement of the Council, Directive 87/357/EEC on food-imitating products and Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety will be replaced by a new state-of-the-art Consumer Product Safety Regulation. The rules governing market surveillance will also be merged into one legal instrument, applicable to all (non-food) products.

More information available at:

IP/13/111: Safer products and a level playing field in the internal market

MEMO/13/93: Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package 2013 - Questions and answers

The entire package can be found on DG SANCO and DG ENTR websites.

Contacts :

Carlo Corazza (+32 2 295 17 52) Twitter: @ECspokesCorazza

David Hudson (+32 2 296 83 35)


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