#EUMSC2020 - Introducing the new EU market surveillance framework

Boris Böhme, Head of Unit for Product and Plant Safety, Technical Harmonisation, Market Surveillance at the BMWi in exchange with moderator Johannes Braun (GIZ), Director of the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (© BMWi/Andreas Mertens)

From 2021, the new Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 will strengthen the smooth functioning of the European Single Market. It amends and thereby modernises key parts of the current regulatory framework for market surveillance in the EU. Ever more complex and international supply chains and digitalization have been causing new challenges for market surveillance in the past years. The new Regulation addresses these trends and through that protects European consumers from unsafe products and businesses from unfair competition.


To celebrate the upcoming launch of the Regulation, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) together with DG GROW (European Commission) and the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) organized the two-day EU Market Surveillance Conference: Facing the challenges. As part of the German Presidency of the EU Council 2020, the event was broadcasted live from the BMWi in Berlin. It provided a forum for regulators, public authorities, industry and consumers to foster a common understanding of the updated Regulation and to discuss what needs to be done to make it a success. GPQI organised a panel discussion with its international partners, thereby also providing the perspective of regulators and businesses from outside the EU.


Up to 600 participants joined the conference virtually on 4 and 5 November 2020 and engaged with 26 distinguished speakers. Johannes Braun, Director of GPQI, lead through the program and took them on a journey around the world: from EU Member States, such as Latvia, France and Denmark, to third countries, including GPQI’s partners Brazil, China, India and Mexico. It was also a journey of diverse topics, including e-commerce, cooperation with customs and different approaches to market surveillance. Our GPQI partners shared their perspectives on the new Regulation as well as current challenges and developments in their respective countries.

 


Current challenges and new opportunities


“Facing the challenges” was the motto of the conference. It relates to current economic and technological trends, which are affecting product safety and fair competition in Europe. The boom of e-commerce is one of them. It leads to an increasing number of products on the market and involves new players. Ms Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “Under Single Market rules, manufacturers enjoy many freedoms and benefit from rapid market access. These rules benefit manufacturers and consumers alike. However, if non-compliant products are placed on the market, this can pose risks. Unsafe products need to be withdrawn from the market as soon as possible and manufacturers sanctioned accordingly. Only a fully effective EU-wide market surveillance framework can make sure of this.” Several points from the Regulation specifically impact e-commerce and online marketplaces. For example, the requirement for at least one responsible economic operator to be established within the EU.


The regulatory framework also creates opportunities for stronger cooperation between national market surveillance authorities and the EU by introducing Single Liaison Offices in every Member State. They will serve as consistent points of contact for the EU authorities and will also be part of the new EU Product Compliance Network. This will facilitate the information exchange and, most importantly, a more coherent implementation in all member states.

 


Regulation 2019/1020 - a game changer


The participants of the conference agreed that the new market surveillance framework has the potential to be a game changer. Now, public authorities, economic operators and consumers must join forces to make its implementation a success. All parties also acknowledged the crucial role of international cooperation in market surveillance. To improve consumer protection, a coordinated approach and exchange of information are key – not only among EU Member States, but on a global level.

 

 

Please find further information in German in the press release of the BMWi.

Live Statement: Kerstin Jorna, Director-General of DG GROW (European Commission) giving the opening speech (© BMWi/Andreas Mertens)

Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, stressed the important role of market surveillance (© BMWi/Andreas Mertens)

A studio was set up in the BMWi to ensure a technically smooth process.

Behind the scenes: Thanks to live broadcasting, up to 600 people participated virtually

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