Two legislative proposals were tabled by the European Commission on December 19. Both are aimed at making it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to sell their products across Europe, and to strengthen controls by national authorities and customs officers to prevent unsafe products from being sold to European consumers.

“The Single Market of 500 million consumers is a great EU success story. Today we are removing obstacles, reinforcing trust and allowing our businesses and consumers to make the most of it,” said Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth Investment and Competitiveness.

Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska added that the Single Market, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018, is built on trust.

“Consumers must be able to trust that the products they use are of the same standard wherever they come from; and public authorities must be able to trust that the products on their national markets are safe for their citizens,” she said. “The breast implant and ‘dieselgate’ scandals undermined this trust and we must rebuild it with stricter controls across the board. Faulty products have absolutely no place in the EU.”

For instance, the “mutual recognition” principle ensures that products not subject to EU-wide regulation can, in principle, move freely within the Single Market, if they are lawfully marketed in one member state.

According to a European Commission press release, this principle should allow manufacturers to sell their products across Europe without any additional requirements. But this is not always working as it should.

In practice, companies wishing to sell products such as shoes, tableware or furniture in another Member State often face barriers, delays and extra costs. To make the principle faster, simpler and clearer in practice, the Commission proposes a new Regulation on the Mutual Recognition of Goods.

The two draft regulations tabled by the Commission will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. Once adopted, they will be directly applicable.

The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament welcomed the Commission’s legislative proposals.

S&D Group spokesperson for the internal market and consumer protection Nicola Danti said: “Safety of consumers and effective market surveillance rules on the products sold in the Internal Market have always been a key-priority for us. In the next months, the S&D Group will work hard to ensure the new legislation proposed will help to create a fairer and safer internal market for goods. After recent scandals, it is essential to rebuild consumers’ trust in the common market.”