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Overhauling fisheries technical measures

26-08-2019

Technical measures in fisheries govern the different fishing practices that can be used to catch fish, as well as the areas and seasons for fishing. Aimed at limiting unwanted catches and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems, EU technical measures have developed over time into a notoriously complicated regulatory structure, which came to be seen as a plethora of ineffective rules under rigid governance. The European Parliament and Council have adopted a new legislative framework that changes ...

Technical measures in fisheries govern the different fishing practices that can be used to catch fish, as well as the areas and seasons for fishing. Aimed at limiting unwanted catches and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems, EU technical measures have developed over time into a notoriously complicated regulatory structure, which came to be seen as a plethora of ineffective rules under rigid governance. The European Parliament and Council have adopted a new legislative framework that changes the governance structure of technical measures. The new regulation is designed to simplify the previous system, to increase its flexibility through a regionalised approach adapted to the specificities of each EU sea basin, and to optimise the contribution of the technical measures to the objectives of the common fisheries policy. The text also provides for a total ban on electric pulse trawl fishing from 1 July 2021, with the possibility for Member States to immediately prohibit or restrict this type of fishing in their coastal waters. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Jean Weissenberger. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 637.926, from April 2019.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Overhauling fisheries technical measures

11-04-2019

Technical measures in fisheries govern the different fishing practices that can be used to catch fish, as well as the areas and seasons for fishing. Aimed at limiting unwanted catches and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems, EU technical measures have developed over time into a notoriously complicated regulatory structure, which came to be seen as a plethora of ineffective rules under rigid governance. During the April II session, Parliament is due to vote on giving formal approval to a new ...

Technical measures in fisheries govern the different fishing practices that can be used to catch fish, as well as the areas and seasons for fishing. Aimed at limiting unwanted catches and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems, EU technical measures have developed over time into a notoriously complicated regulatory structure, which came to be seen as a plethora of ineffective rules under rigid governance. During the April II session, Parliament is due to vote on giving formal approval to a new legislative framework that would change the governance structure of technical measures. The proposed framework is designed to simplify the current system, to increase its flexibility through a regionalised approach adapted to the specificities of each EU sea basin, and to optimise the contribution of the technical measures to the objectives of the common fisheries policy. The text also provides for a total ban on electric pulse trawl fishing from 1 July 2021, with the possibility for Member States to immediately prohibit or restrict this type of fishing in their coastal waters.

Mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State

06-04-2018

An initial appraisal of the impact assessment accompanying the Commission proposal clearly defines the problem, as well as the general and specific objectives. Operational objectives appear to be relevant and achievable, even though they appear not to be entirely set according to the recommendations included in the better regulation toolbox. The IA presents a reasonable range of options and choses a combination of soft law measures and legislative changes (options 2 and 4). Among the measures proposed ...

An initial appraisal of the impact assessment accompanying the Commission proposal clearly defines the problem, as well as the general and specific objectives. Operational objectives appear to be relevant and achievable, even though they appear not to be entirely set according to the recommendations included in the better regulation toolbox. The IA presents a reasonable range of options and choses a combination of soft law measures and legislative changes (options 2 and 4). Among the measures proposed, the introduction of a declaration of compliance could have benefited from further substantiation of its added value. While an SME test was conducted, the analysis regarding the impact on competitiveness is largely missing. The Commission has consulted a broad range of stakeholders, whose views have been extensively analysed and illustrated. The research, analysis, and supporting evidence included or referenced in the IA provide ample and detailed insights on the different issues considered, making the overall analysis, and the assessments of the retained options, reasonably sound.

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Free movement of goods within the EU single market

19-01-2018

The free movement of goods is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU – together with services, capital and people – and a cornerstone of the single market. The rationale of an open market throughout the EU has always been to assist economic growth and competitiveness and therefore promote employment and prosperity. Legislation on the single market for goods (based mainly on Article 28 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, TFEU) aims at ensuring that products placed on the ...

The free movement of goods is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU – together with services, capital and people – and a cornerstone of the single market. The rationale of an open market throughout the EU has always been to assist economic growth and competitiveness and therefore promote employment and prosperity. Legislation on the single market for goods (based mainly on Article 28 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, TFEU) aims at ensuring that products placed on the EU market conform to high health, safety and environmental requirements. Once a product is sold legally in the EU, it should circulate without barriers to trade, with a minimum of administrative burden

European Commission guidelines on dual quality of branded food products

07-11-2017

On 26 September 2017, the European Commission published a notice laying out guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer protection law to issues of dual quality of food products. This legally non-binding notice follows tests in seven 'new' EU Member States that compared the composition and sensory qualities of branded products sold in those countries with some of the 'old' Member States. The tests showed that some of the products included less of the main ingredient, included ingredients ...

On 26 September 2017, the European Commission published a notice laying out guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer protection law to issues of dual quality of food products. This legally non-binding notice follows tests in seven 'new' EU Member States that compared the composition and sensory qualities of branded products sold in those countries with some of the 'old' Member States. The tests showed that some of the products included less of the main ingredient, included ingredients that were considered to be less healthy and of poorer quality, or had different taste, consistency, and other sensory characteristics. Manufacturers have questioned the reliability of the tests, claiming the differences were the result of adjusting their products to local tastes or using local ingredients and different places of manufacture. The Commission notice acknowledges that producers have a right to differentiate their products, but warns that consumers must not be misled. It clarifies the provisions of EU legislation which should enable the national authorities in Member States to act. It introduces the notion of a 'product of reference', against which consumer expectations are to be measured. Consumers need to be adequately informed if a product differs from their expectations, as when inadequate information leads them to buy a product they would not otherwise buy, such dual quality may be contrary to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. Members of the European Parliament have regularly spoken out against the practice of dual quality of food, with the European Parliament asking the Commission to verify the extent of the problem as early as 2013.

Dual quality of branded food products: Addressing a possible east-west divide

20-06-2017

Recent tests on branded food in three 'new' EU Member States have shown that the taste and composition of these products, sold under the same name and in the same packaging, sometimes differ from the 'same' products sold in neighbouring 'old' Member States. While the ingredients were generally properly labelled and the products were considered safe for consumption, some of those in 'new' Member States were considered to be of inferior quality and less healthy, and were also more expensive. Similar ...

Recent tests on branded food in three 'new' EU Member States have shown that the taste and composition of these products, sold under the same name and in the same packaging, sometimes differ from the 'same' products sold in neighbouring 'old' Member States. While the ingredients were generally properly labelled and the products were considered safe for consumption, some of those in 'new' Member States were considered to be of inferior quality and less healthy, and were also more expensive. Similar claims have previously been made concerning cosmetics and laundry detergents. Companies are known to change the composition of their branded products to adjust to local taste, local ingredients, divergent purchasing power, etc. EU legislation does not consider this to be misleading, as long as the products are safe, properly labelled and not falsely advertised as being identical to those sold in another Member State. At the same time, trademark law, while protecting the right of the trademark owner to communicate the origin and quality of products by using a mark, does not offer the consumer a legally enforceable guarantee. In 2013 the European Parliament asked the Commission to look into the matter, and in 2017 a group of MEPs issued a major interpellation asking the Commission to make proposals to amend EU legislation in connection with the 'dual quality' of products. The Commission has so far been reluctant to take this path, preferring to address the issue in the High-Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain.

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