EU Internal Market:
Rules for Mutual Recognition under scrutiny
Although Regulation 764/2008 introduced the principle of Mutual Recognition
(keyword Cassis de Dijon) for the marketing of products in the EU internal
market, the EU Commission still sees continued deficits in the non-harmonized
area. The Regulation, which lays down procedures relating to the application of
certain national technical rules to products that have been lawfully marketed
in another Member State, was at that time part of the so-called goods package.
Principle of Mutual Recognition
operator who lawfully marketed a product in one EU country is permitted to sell
this product also in other EU countries, without having to adapt to the
national regulations of this country. This applies when there are no common
European rules that determine how the product must be produced (harmonized
area). The other EU countries must in principle recognize these rules for
marketing the product.
Exceptions to this principle regard limited restrictions that are justified on
grounds of overriding requirements of general public importance, which must be
proportionate to the aim pursued.
An essential part of the Internal Market Strategy
When the authorities in Brussels presented their Internal Market Strategy last
fall they noted that the free movement of goods in the EU is not working
properly for these products. Among the barriers to market entry are national rules
or practices, for example, compliance with technical standards, the reference
to binding national marks or voluntary standards, which are de facto mandatory.
Moreover, products and services are increasingly interconnected, with the
latter not being subject to the principle of Mutual Recognition. According to
the Commission, these problems exist in all industrial sectors, but
particularly in the construction and food industries.
CEOC position: relying on independent conformity assessment
In its position paper on the Internal Market Strategy CEOC recommends regarding
this point to strengthen the principle of mutual recognition through the
presumption of conformity of independently tested products.
"The confidence in the applicable
product-specific regulations and therefore the level of protection secured by
the country of origin required for the principle of mutual recognition can be
strengthened in the long term by involving an independent third party in the
conformity assessment because the third party has proven not only its
expertise, but also their neutrality and objectivity to assess the product
requirements of the country of origin by means of a statutory
accreditation." (page 5, CEOC-position)
Mutual Recognition regulation about to be revised?
introduced a procedural framework in order to prevent, as far as possible, that
the free movement of goods between Member States is hindered by unnecessary and
disproportionate national technical rules. This happened, firstly, through the
establishment of Product Contact Points and the development of a product
database, on the basis of which the applicability of mutual recognition can be
examine and, secondly, by requesting the authorities to inform about and
justify any decision to refuse market access on the basis of mutual
Whether this Regulation from 2008 met its goal or will possibly be revised will
now be examined. As a first step, the EU Commission has launched a consultation
for interested parties, which ends on 30th September 2016.
European Commission website - Public
consultation on the possible revision of the Mutual Recognition Regulation (EC)
REGULATION (EC) No 764/2008 OF THE
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 July 2008 laying down procedures
relating to the application of certain national technical rules to products
lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Decision No 3052/95/EC
CEOC-Position: Upgrade the European
Single Market with compliant products and services