The freshly published Market Surveillance Draft Regulation recognises the importance of market surveillance authorities and the need of EU countries to finance adequately the consistent check of real home appliance products taken directly from the market. With a number of new regulations coming into force, the role of market surveillance experts will be crucial.
The plan to establish a EU Product Compliance Network, built on already developed systems and databases, such as the communication system for the pan-European market surveillance (ICSMS) and the rapid alert system notifying about risks to safety of consumers (RAPEX), is definitely promising.
Indeed, industry needs harmonised and reliable criteria for testing throughout the European Union and our manufacturers hope the new Network will improve coordination between the market experts.
The Memoranda of understanding with stakeholders is a way to promote compliance and the home appliance sector is glad to see this approach is now foreseen in the upcoming legislation. “Our association has been the first to predate this “Memorandum of understanding” back in 2009, we called it ATLETE (Appliance Testing for Energy Label Evaluation). We know from experience that this method will work”, said CECED’s Director-General, Paolo Falcioni. However, while CECED supports better coordination between industry and market surveillance authorities, we trust that this concept will not be used to make industry take over market surveillance financing.
The European Commission will need to strike a balance between non-compliance issues and other minor irregularities. “The health of the consumers is our top priority and a safety hazard should imply an immediate withdrawal from the market. This measure, however, could not apply if minor administrative concerns are present”, he added.
The draft regulation has the potential to improve coordinated market surveillance, and the sector is dedicated to support better coordination between the market surveillance bodies. However, it bears also the risk to increase compliance cost for companies. The need for proportionality remains key.
Giving unlimited superpowers to national market surveillance authorities is not the solution. The priority should be to ensure that there is a level playing field for all actors on the European Single Market. This result can be only achieved if all national market surveillance authorities have access to sufficient human and financial resources.