Increasing Compliance of Products with EU Regulations
During the second workshop of the series “Product Safety and Compliance in the ICT sector” on 16 September 2022, Joachim Geiß of BMWK and Stephan Winkelmann of the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur - BNetzA) presented the EU Market Surveillance Regulation (EU-MSR) and the German market surveillance system to over 360 participants. Geiß has been involved with the EU’s New Approach as a legal expert for more than 20 years and negotiated the EU-MSR on behalf of the German government. Winkelmann is an expert on electromagnetic compatibility and has been representing German Market Surveillance both in national and international committees for over 25 years.
Market surveillance ensures safety, fair competition, and the free movement of goods
With people selling and buying a growing number of products online, market surveillance authorities worldwide face multiple challenges. Sellers deliver products in many individual shipments that are harder to check. Authorities also find it increasingly difficult to identify the economic operators responsible. As a result, Germany, the EU, and China are reacting with updated and improved legislation, new tools, and enhanced cooperation.
Market Surveillance is crucial for the smooth functioning of markets. It helps to protect consumers and workers from unsafe products and general non-compliance and protects businesses from unfair competition. It also ensures the protection of other public interests such as the environment and security. The EU system relies on the implementation of market surveillance by the authorities of member states that are close to the markets. In Germany these include federal agencies like BNetzA, state-level agencies and the decentralised regional offices of governmental authorities.
EU-MSR reshapes European product legislation
With the new Market Surveillance Regulation, the EU keeps pace with the challenges and ensures that products placed on the single market are compliant with product rules. At its heart, the EU-MSR requires a responsible economic operator established in the EU, who must share information and cooperate with market surveillance authorities. This requirement has great impact also on Chinese enterprises active on the EU market. Also based on questions submitted prior to the workshop, Geiß therefore focused in his presentation on the expanded definitions of “economic operator” and “placing on the market”.
Winkelmann introduced the responsibilities of BNetzA and provided the perspective of an implementing market surveillance authority. According to feedback provided after the workshop, participating companies – specifically small and medium-sized enterprises – especially appreciated his sharing of examples of non-compliant products and the functioning of market surveillance in e-commerce. With this improved knowledge they can reduce non-compliance when their products enter the EU market. This not only helps the smooth functioning of their business, but also directly helps to improve consumer protection and fair competition.
For more information on the EU and German market surveillance system, read the publication “United in Quality and Safety” here.