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Online shopping and imported products will be safer thanks to S&Ds’ lead

Date

30 Mar 2023

Sections

Trade & Society

Tomorrow, the European Parliament is expected to take a big step towards making imported products purchased in the EU as well as online shopping safer for EU consumers.

Throughout the negotiations with the Council, the Commission and among the political groups in the European Parliament, the S&D Group has strived to put consumers’ interests at the heart of the new General Product Safety Regulation, due to be adopted tomorrow.

Instead of a risks-based approach, favoured by the right-leaning part of the house, we succeeded to set the ‘precautionary principle’ as a guiding principle of the new regulation. This will ensure that consumers’ safety prevails over the offline and online business of hazardous goods.

We have ensured better security checks over products imported from non-EU countries, as well as increased market surveillance on online marketplaces. We have also substantially strengthened consumers’ rights concerning recalls of dangerous products. Last but not least, we have guaranteed that collective legal action could be taken in case the new legislation is infringed.

René Repasi, S&D negotiator on the General Product Safety Regulation, said:

“It was important for us to bridge the gap between quality standards of EU products and those of third countries through better controls on imported products. From now on, one person will need to be physically present in the EU and take the legal responsibility for every item imported from a third country and sold to European consumers offline and online. This is key to strengthening the so-called safety net in the EU.

“In online marketplaces, we see that a particularly large number of dangerous products are traded. With the new regulation, marketplace providers will have to react quicker to market surveillance orders from the authorities, and better inform consumers in the event of recalls. We, however, regret that there was no majority willing to put more obligations on online marketplaces.

“We also battled to create new rights; ensuring free choice for consumers in case of recalls of dangerous products. The European consumer will thus be able to choose whether the product should be replaced, repaired or the purchase price refunded, well beyond the currently-existing period, which is far too short.”

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