Last month, the European Commission presented its “action plan” for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules. This forms part of its strategy for a “globally competitive, green and digital Europe”, and it’s packed full of initiatives that will be of interest to those who manufacture and sell products.
There’s a big focus on online sales and digitalisation, with hints from the Commission as to where to expect future changes, and what those might look like. For example:
- Action 3 – is aimed at online platforms facilitating the compliance of products and will look at:
- “Possible measures to improve compliance of products sold via online platforms” as part of the Digital Services Act; and
- addressing challenges posed by product safety in online sales in the revision of the General Product Safety Directive.
- Action 16 – which focuses on the development of labelling and traceability systems, will include exploring:
- the digital submission of compliance information for consumer products at customs (the Commission gives the examples of “QR codes, RFID, black chains etc.”); and
- the best digital tools for traceability information.
The action plan also sets out a number of ideas intended to increase enforcement of product rules. These include:
- considering new measures to fight counterfeit and illegal products;
- developing the EU Product Compliance Network, which is provided for in Regulation 2019/1020 (part of the so called “Goods Package”); and
- training programmes and seminars for judges and other legal professionals tasked with enforcement (both national and EU level).
These measures would sit alongside other relevant updates, including the revision of the Blue Guide and assisting Member States with the transposition of the European Accessibility Act, which we’ve previously blogged about here and here.
Collectively, the proposals represent a potentially significant shift in existing product rules. There is an increasing push at an EU-level to adapt existing requirements and find solutions (including digital solutions) to challenges posed by the digital age.
We will continue to monitor these as they develop so keep an eye on Productwise for future updates.