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Parliamentary question - E-2268/2008(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware that the national laws of many Member States provide that articles of precious metal lawfully marketed in another Member State must be checked and authorised before they are put on their national markets. Often, Member States require articles of precious metal to be hallmarked to indicate the manufacturer, the nature of the metal and its standard of fineness.

In some cases, these national requirements may constitute obstacles to the free movement of articles of precious metal within the EU. However, according to the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, some of these requirements may be justified under certain circumstances, in order to ensure the effective protection of consumers and to promote fair trade.

In 1975 and 1993, the Commission tabled legislative proposals [1] to bring about a truly integrated internal market for precious metals. The lack of broad support for these proposals obliged the Commission to withdraw them.

The Commission hopes that its new proposal on mutual recognition in the non-harmonised field of products[2] will eliminate most existing technical barriers relating to the degree of purity of articles of precious metal. However, this proposal will facilitate but not abolish existing checking and authorisation procedures regarding articles of precious metal.