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  • Simpler procedures for the mutual recognition of products across the EU 
  • Easier for businesses to find solutions when confronted with a breach of their rights 
  • Rules apply to products such as furniture, childcare articles, shoes, textile, etc 

EU lawmakers agreed on new mutual recognition rules aimed at increasing legal certainty for producers in the single market and improving cooperation among national authorities.

The mutual recognition principle requires that a good that is lawfully marketed in one EU member state should not be banned in another member state.

The new rules, provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Thursday evening, aim to remove unjustified trade barriers within the single market, simplify procedures for companies and national authorities, enhance cross-border cooperation and improve problem solving by making use of the SOLVIT mechanism.

The agreed text improves the system for the mutual recognition of goods across the EU. It requires member states to clearly justify any restrictions to market access, in line with the provisions of the EU Treaty and the case law of the Court of Justice. It also ensures that the assessment of goods by the competent national authorities is performed quickly and effectively, avoiding any arbitrary discrimination or a disguised restriction.

These rules will apply to many consumer products which don’t fall under harmonised EU laws, such as furniture, childcare products, textile, shoes, jewellery, tableware, bicycles, etc.

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Ivan Štefanec (EPP, SK), rapporteur from the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee who led the talks, said: “I am pleased that this legislation will contribute to strengthening mutual recognition. This proposal will increase legal certainty for the producers and, thanks to the European Parliament, it will also improve administrative cross-border cooperation among the representatives of the competent authorities and the Product Contact Points of the Member States”.

“Thanks to this agreement, the system for the mutual recognition of goods will be improved and the procedures for businesses and national authorities will be simplified, thus allowing everyone to benefit from the free movement of goods in the EU single market”, Mr Štefanec added.

Next steps

The provisional agreement now needs to be confirmed by the EU member states’ ambassadors (COREPER) and by Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The draft regulation will then be put to a final vote by the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary session and submitted for approval to the EU Council of Ministers.

The regulation will apply one year after the date it enters into force, to allow the administrative authorities some time to plan and adapt their structures to the new procedures.

Background

The “Goods package”, presented by the European Commission in December 2017, contains two legislative proposals: one on compliance and enforcement and the other on mutual recognition. Together they aim to strengthen checks made by national authorities and customs officers to prevent unsafe products from being sold to EU consumers and to make it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to sell their products across Europe. These measures should also prevent rogue traders from gaining an unfair competitive advantage over companies that respect the rules.