Last month, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection held a public hearing on the Goods Package (read our previous blog on the Goods Package here). As part of its on-going work in connection with the Goods Package, Cooley attended that hearing.
The hearing comprised of five panels ranging from Member States’ experience with the administration of the current goods framework to practical challenges with products entering the EU from third countries and business and consumer perspectives. It also included discussion of the SOLVIT network and the problem solving procedure in the proposal for a regulation on mutual recognition of goods.
As a result, there was a broad range of discussion, which highlighted various tensions between stakeholder views on the proposals. As could be expected, some felt the proposal did not go far enough, while others felt it went too far. One of the Rapporteurs for the proposals made clear that he believed that there is room to strengthen the package even further and that the intention is to finish the package before the end of the legislative term.
Some suggestions to strengthen the proposal were:
- To expand the scope of the market surveillance and enforcement proposal to apply to non-harmonised products, as well as harmonised products.
- To enhance the requirement for a person responsible for compliance information to instead be a person responsible for the conformity of the product.
- To allow consumer associations to be able to interact with market surveillance authorities officially.
Some stakeholders pointed to specific examples of where they consider the proposal to go too far, including the range of minimum powers to be given to market surveillance authorities and the increased burdens on business and market surveillance authorities as a result of the proposed requirement for a person responsible for compliance information. Concerns were also raised about the risk to the independence and impartiality of market surveillance authorities inherent in the proposals for compliance partnerships and memorandums of understanding.
The Goods Package will continue to move through the legislative process and it remains to be seen how these areas of tension will be dealt with, if at all. We will continue to update on its progress.
The programme from the hearing can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/140375/Final%20Programme%20hearing%20Goods%20Package.pdf