Interview: how new product rules will improve safety for consumers 


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The safety of products in Europe could still be further improved ©BELGA_EUROPICS 

Worried about mobile phones exploding in your faces or toys falling apart in the hands of your kids? So is the EP. To ensure products are safer for people to use, the EP's consumer protection committee adopted two reports on 17 October. Under the plans consumers would receive more information about what they were buying and products would be subject to higher safety requirements. We talked to the two MEPs behind the proposals about how the new rules would improve safety for consumers.

Creating safer products

The consumer protection committee adopted two reports on 17 October. The first one is about consumer product safety and was written by Christel Schaldemose, a Danish member of the S&D group. The other one was about the market surveillance of products, written by Sirpa Pietikäinen, a Finnish member of the EPP groups. Both proposals are about non-food products and are part of the product safety and market surveillance package. MEPs are expected to vote on the plans during the December plenary.

The new rules would clarify what manufacturers, imports and distributors are required to do. They would establish the same safety rules for everyone and make it easier to trace back where faulty products come from.

How the new rules would make a difference

Every product would have to include information on where it was produced, regardless of whether it was from a country in the EU or outside. A new safety label would also be introduced. "It will now be possible to certify safety tested products with a EU Safety Tested mark," explained Ms Schaldemose.

The new regulation on market surveillance would clarify the rules, reduce their number and introduce sanctions if they were breached. Ms Pietikäinen said "Today our surveillance system is ineffective and creates an uneven playing field between companies that respect the rules and those that do not." Improving product safety is a key goal of the proposals. Ms Pietikäinen added: "More resources will go to inspecting risky products and producers. There will be fines for these who regularly and intentionally breach the rules and risk consumers' safety."

The committee also proposed creating a blacklist of producers of dangerous products.