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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 24.01.2019, 02:39

Removing obstacles & reinforcing trust in the Single Market for SMEs and consumers

Eugene Eteris, RSU/BC, Riga, 20.12.2017.Print version
Two new Commission’s drafts are aimed at making it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to sell their products across Europe. Besides, the proposals would reinforce trust and strengthen control by national authorities and customs officers to prevent unsafe products from being sold to European consumers. Adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, they will be directly applicable in the member states.

It is known that trade in goods accounts for 75% of intra-EU trade and around 25% of the EU's GDP. The ESM product rules cover vast majority of all manufactured products in the EU with an average value of €2,400 billion; about 5 million SMEs are involved in produced and/or distributing various goods.  


The EU Single Market (ESM) is designed to allow goods, services, capital and people to move freely around the member states while offering greater choice and lower prices for consumers and opportunities for professionals and businesses. However, these opportunities do not always provide for the mentioned advantages as ESM’s rules are either not known nor implemented or simply tarnished by numerous unjustified barriers. Thus in 2015, the Commission presented its Single Market Strategy, i.e. a roadmap to deliver on political commitment to unleash full potentials of the Single Market by using ESM as a vital instrument for European companies’ growth.  

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ESM rules not only allow products to circulate freely among the EU states but ensure high level of environmental, health and safety protection; e.g. EU legislation in such areas as toys and chemicals are among the strictest in the world.


The new proposals complement other initiatives already put forward to deliver on the 2015 Single Market Strategy: e.g. measures for improved protection of intellectual property rightsproposals on e-commerceguidance on the collaborative economy, steps to modernise the EU's standardisation policy, a Start-up and Scale-up Initiativemeasures to give a fresh boost to the services sector and steps to enhance compliance and practical functioning of the EU Single Market.


Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska underlined commenting on the drafts’ publication, that consumers in the EU Single Market have to trust that the products they use are of the same standard wherever they come from. Besides, public authorities must believe that the products on their national markets are safe for their citizens. She added that trust in the Single Market was undermined by recent scandals; this trust must be rebuilt with stricter controls to exclude faulty products from the market. 

Main ideas of the proposals

New Commission drafts are designed to improve two aspects of the free flow of goods:


= First, making it easier to sell products in another EU state.


The “mutual recognition” principle (TFEU arts 114 and 294) ensures that products not subject to EU-wide regulation can, in principle, move freely within the Single Market, if they are lawfully marketed in one Member State. This principle should allow manufacturers to sell their products across Europe without any additional requirements. But this is not always working as it should. In practice, companies wishing to sell products such as shoes, tableware or furniture in another EU state often face barriers, delays and extra costs.


Commission proposes a new Regulation on the Mutual Recognition of Goods in order to make the principle faster, simpler and clearer in practice; see drafts in: COM (2017)796 - Proposal for a Regulation on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State. As well as the following documents: =

COM (2017) 796 ANNEX - Annex to the Proposal; = SWD (2017)471 - Impact assessment; = SWD (2017)472 - Executive summary of the impact assessment; SWD (2017)475 - REFIT evaluation; and = SWD (2017)476 - Executive summary of the REFIT evaluation.

After Regulation’s adoption, companies will know if their products can be sold in another EU country and be able to use a voluntary declaration to demonstrate that their products meet all the relevant requirements in their country. This will make it easier for authorities of other EU states to assess whether or not mutual recognition should apply. Similarly, a problem resolution mechanism will allow for a faster resolution of disputes between companies and national authorities. Training and exchanges among officials will further improve collaboration and trust among national authority, this would not prevent national authorities from taking other legitimate public policy concerns.
= Second, strengthening national authorities’ controls to ensure that products are safe and comply with the existing rules.

There are still too many unsafe and non-compliant products sold on the EU market: about 32% of toys, 58% of electronics, 47% of construction products and 40% of personal protective equipment inspected do not meet the requirements for safety or consumer information foreseen in EU legislation.


This endangers consumers and puts compliant businesses at a competitive disadvantage. The draft Regulation on Compliance and Enforcement will help create a fairer internal market for goods, through fostering more cooperation among national market surveillance authorities.  

Commission’s drafts can be seen in: = COM (2017)795 - Proposal for a Regulation laying down rules and procedures for compliance with and enforcement of Union harmonisation legislation on products and amending Regulations and Directives; = SWD (2017)466/1 - Impact assessment part 1; = SWD (2017)466/2 - Impact assessment part 2; = SWD (2017)466/3 - Impact assessment part 3; = SWD (2017)466/4 - Impact assessment part 4; and = SWD (2017)467 - Executive summary of the impact assessment.           

This draft includes option of sharing information about illegal products and ongoing investigations so that authorities can take effective action against non-compliant products.

The draft would also help national authorities improve checks on products entering the EU market. Since 30% of goods in the EU are imported, the Commission further proposes to reinforce inspections of ports and external borders.


Two Regulations’ drafts have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council; then, they will be directly applicable in the member states.


More information on: = Frequently Asked Questions; = Factsheet – Single Market: trading goods across Europe; = Stockshots – Single Market; = Proposal for a Regulation on the Mutual Recognition of Goods; = Proposal for a Regulation on Compliance and Enforcement

Communication: The Goods Package: Reinforcing trust in the single market; = Report on the operation of the Single Market Transparency Directive (Directive 2015/1535); = Report on accreditation 

Source: Commission press release “Safe products in the EU single market: Commission acts to reinforce trust”, Brussels, 19 December 2017, in:;

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