Product safety and market surveillance - European Parliament overturn good Commission common sense
The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee has just voted to radically reshape a proposal from the European Commission which appeared to be a (on the whole) balanced Product safety and market surveillance Package, designed to really make enforcement of existing legislation simpler, more efficient and ultimately more effective. This is something that industry has been asking for since many years. This is essential as market surveillance authorities are under severe resource constraints.
The amendments voted by MEPs have supposedly 'helped' consumers but can in fact, be viewed to do just the opposite by adding confusion with an additional ‘EU Safety Tested’ marking giving easy potential for forgery. Indeed, consumers deserve to be protected – that is not in question - but this should not be at the expense of manufacturers in Europe.
“Most manufacturers think market surveillance will protect them from unfair competition. Not true! Market surveillance today is not functioning as it should due to resource constraints in many member states”, said Orgalime Director General, Adrian Harris, “Unless market surveillance authorities are adequately funded they will remain unable to enforce extended, complex and overall unnecessary requirements such as many of those being now proposed” he added.
If businesses need to 'apply' extra details to products that legislation already dictates are fit to be put on the market, consumers will inevitably have the price differential passed on. Most SMEs - incidentally staffed by European consumers - will be unable to apply such complexities without giving up the narrow competitive advantage they enjoy over those illegal products finding their way onto the European market because of the lack of adequate market surveillance authorities.
Moreover, the ‘EU Safety Tested’ marking will just make things more confusing for both consumers and authorities and more uncertain and expensive for companies. Added Harris “We find it amazing that given the current economic situation in Europe where manufacturing investment is right down, increasingly due to regulatory instability and unpredictability, that politicians should just go on piling on more costs and burdens onto European manufacturers, thereby inevitably having a very direct impact on investment and jobs”.