EC new boost for the internal market

The European Commission welcomed ,on the 21st February 2008, the adoption by the European Parliament of a broad package of measures to facilitate the functioning of the internal market for goods. This will make it easier for companies, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, to sell their products in the EU whilst increasing the protection of consumers. For industrial products existing market surveillance systems will be strengthened and for the first time aligned with import controls. Accreditation has also been introduced. This is a formal system which may now be used to ensure that conformity assessment bodies (or testing and certification laboratories) provide the high quality services that manufacturers need. The introduction of these measures serves to reinforce the role and credibility of CE marking. Improvements are also proposed for the trade with goods which do not fall under EU-legislation. From now it will also be the duty of a Member State that intends to refuse market access for products that are legally marketed in other Member States to talk to the enterprise and to give detailed objective reasons for any possible refusal, This creates new benefits for entrepreneurs as well as for consumers broadening their choice. It is expected that the Council of the EU will approve the package of measures soon, so it can enter into force next year.

The package strengthens and modernises the conditions for placing a wide range of industrial products on the Community market, as it:

  • Introduces better rules on market surveillance to protect both consumers and professionals from unsafe products, including imports from third countries. This particularly applies to procedures for products that are hazardous to health or the environment which are withdrawn from the market;
  • Enhances confidence and quality of conformity assessments of products through reinforced and clear rules on the requirements for notification of conformity assessment bodies including the increased use of accreditation;
  • Enhances the credibility and clarifies the meaning of CE marking. In addition the CE marking will be protected as a community collective trade mark, which will give authorities additional means to take legal action against manufacturers who abuse it;
  • Establishes a common legal framework for industrial products in the form of a toolbox of measures for use in future legislation. This sets out simple common definitions (of terms which are sometimes used differently) and procedures which will allow future sectoral legislation to become more consistent and easier to implement.

The package also strengthens the internal market of a wide range of other products, which are not subject to EU harmonisation, such as various types of foodstuffs (for example bread and pasta), furniture, bicycles, ladders and precious metals, etc. Together they represent more than 15% of intra EU trade in goods. These products are very often subject to many different national rules laying down the requirements that these products should meet. Until now, the differences between these rules in many Member States discouraged companies, in particular small and medium enterprises, from venturing outside their domestic market because they had to prove that their products which were legally sold in a given Member State comply with technical rules in other Member States. Other companies were obliged to make expensive and often unnecessary adjustments to their products so that they became also more expensive for the consumers.

More information

For more details of the New Internal Market Package for Goods, go to