Market Surveillance

Background

Source: Rainer Sturm_pixelio.de

The European Commission adopted a new package of legislative and non-legislative measures to improve consumer product safety and to strengthen market surveillance of products in the EU on 13 February 2013. The legislative proposals are currently being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. It is expected that the new legislation will come into effect in 2015.

The package consists of a regulation on market surveillance and a regulation on consumer product safety. The latter will replace Directive 2001/96/EC on General Product Safety. 

CECE Position

CECE welcomes the “Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package”. The European construction equipment industry share the Commission’s view that market surveillance is key to ensuring consumer and user safety, protection of the environment and fair competition in the Single Market.

  • Union-wide common minimum and maximum levels of sanctions should be set to ensure that rogue traders placing non-compliant products on the market face similar risks across all Member States.
  • The Regulation should impose a clear obligation on all Member States to charge costs related to tests, risk assessment and corrective actions taken by authorities to economic operators who infringe the rules, and to earmark revenues obtained through sanctions for market surveillance activities.
  • The European Market Surveillance Forum must closely and regularly cooperate with industry stakeholders who should be regular participants of the EMSF or its sub-groups.
  • National market surveillance programmes should start only following a negotiation phase between the Commission, the EMSF and each Member State, and upon the approval of the Commission. The Commission should compile and publish statistics and reports (including product- or sector-specific statistics) regarding checks carried out by Member States and the results of these activities, including sanctions applied. This data should be put at the disposal of the EMSF to determine priorities on product groups and countries/regions which require particular attention.
  • CECE does not support the introduction of the Precautionary Principle in the legislative text. Any risk assessment should be based on scientific and technical evidence). It should take full account of test reports and certificates issued by conformity assessment bodies. The use of the precautionary principle would give leeway to divergent interpretations of risks by market surveillance authorities and create legal uncertainty for economic operators. Economic operators, after having ensured the conformity of their products with all the applicable Union harmonization legislation and having affixed the CE marking on their products, should be confident that their products can freely circulate in the Single Market.
  • Third-party inspections are expensive and time-consuming and must therefore be fully justified by the added value they bring in protecting honest companies from unlawful manufacturers. In addition, they do not and cannot substitute themselves to post-market controls. Third-party certification marking can also be easily counterfeited just like the CE marking is being illegally affixed. Only regular monitoring of products on the market, effective documentary, physical and laboratory checks can really help prevent non-compliant products from circulating on the market.

Also see the Industry's Support Platform for Market Surveillance.