Monday January 07, 2019
EC Calls for Single Market RenewalBy Alicia Johnson-Cole and Fergal Duggan, Cooley LLP
The European commission published two communications calling for renewed political commitment to the Single Market and highlighting improvements to be made to standards of harmonisation. The documents, dated November, were in response to an earlier European Council paper, which called on the commission to assess the status of the Single Market, alongside any remaining barriers or opportunities. Both contained statements of importance for understanding the commission's priorities for 2019, especially in relation to product safety.
The European Single Market seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services and labour throughout Europe, stimulating competition and raising the quality and safety of products. In its March assessment, the Council found that "strong industrial policy" was needed to reap the "maximum benefits of the Single Market." When combined with the harmonisation of standards, i.e. the use of voluntary technical specifications which allow manufacturers to demonstrate that their products comply with relevant EU legislation, the Single Market fuels economic growth and makes the everyday lives of European consumers safer and easier. This includes in the area of product safety, where common rules and standards are used Europe-wide to ensure that consumers are safe, able to trust the products they buy and use, and benefit from wider choice and higher quality products at lower prices.
"The Single Market in a Changing World": In this communication, the commission called on member states to renew their political commitment to the Single Market to ensure it continues to adapt to new developments and challenges. The commission highlighted three main areas for improvement, each of which has particular relevance to product safety:
The commission also invited the European Council to hold a discussion on the Single Market to address the common priorities for action and the appropriate mechanisms required to accommodate the new political commitment with effective delivery at all levels of governance.
"Harmonised Standards": In its second communication, the commission reviewed the functioning of the European standardisation system and presented a plan to improve the efficiency, transparency and rapid delivery of harmonised standards for the Single Market.
European standards replace conflicting national standards in member states, setting a common standard of safety across the continent, increasing consumer trust and allowing business expansion across the market with limited additional costs. The commission and European Standardisation Organisations ensure the development of harmonised standards is consensus-based, transparent and inclusive. Once a harmonised standard is developed and approved by the commission, it is published in the Official Journal of the EU and takes legislative effect.
The commission committed to undertake four key actions:
Further, the commission committed to continuing to work with all relevant partners to ensure European standardisation is successful and continues as a core aspect of the Single Market.
Dispatch from the EU is a monthly feature provided exclusively for PSL subscribers by Cooley LLP, www.cooley.com. For further information about the above, contact Rod Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.