Market surveillance: an industrial policy priority, at last!

BRUSSELS, 10 October 2012 – CECE, CECIMO, CEMA, EUROMAP and FEM welcome the European Commission’s acknowledgement, in its Communication on Industrial Policy, of the importance of an effective market surveillance to support a competitive EU machinery industry(1). Whereas EU mechanical engineering is one of the most important providers of workplaces within the EU and significantly contributes to a sound current account balance, it is vital to protect its competitiveness.
The president of CECIMO, Mr Martin Kapp, welcomed the reference to market surveillance into the European Commission Communication: “The EU mechanical engineering has recently been described as one of the most shining examples of performance of EU economy”, said Mr Kapp. “EU institutions and Member States have a duty in allowing European manufacturers to maintain such a position.”(2)
In the past few years, the EU machinery industry has been alerting decision-makers on the negative impact of ineffective market surveillance on the sector and the entire EU economy. The resulting proliferation of non-compliant equipment on the internal market generates safety and environmental risks, creates unfair competition and hampers the competitiveness of European companies, ultimately threatening the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provide. The industry, on its end, has taken a proactive approach to address the issue, notably by providing technical assistance to competent authorities through the online Market Surveillance Support Platform launched on the initiative of industry in 2011.(3)
CECE, CECIMO, CEMA, EUROMAP and FEM now hope that this strong message in the Industrial Policy Flagship will guide the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament in their efforts for drawing up a common framework for market surveillance in the upcoming Safety Package. There is an undeniable link between market surveillance and competitiveness, innovation, growth and jobs. Therefore, besides traditional product safety aspects, industrial policy and competitiveness objectives should be fully taken into account and incorporated into the new legislation.
“We hope that the new framework for market surveillance will, in a focused manner, address the problems of machinery industries which have been neglected so far”, said Olivier Janin, Secretary General of FEM. “The new legislative package should enable more targeted, coordinated and effective market surveillance across the EU with the involvement of market surveillance, customs authorities and industry.”
CECE, FEM, EUROMAP, CECIMO and CEMA are requesting DG Enterprise to have the lead and be ambitious in its proposal (4).A mere merging of General Product Safety Directive and regulation 765/2008 in a unique document would be an academic exercise which would not bring any benefit to the industry. On the contrary, there is recently acknowledged need to ensure fair competition and a level-playing field for all market operators: the Commission, and then the Parliament and Member States need to ensure that only compliant machines are sold in Europe.
CECE President Johann Sailer concluded: “I call the legislator for not taking safety as the unique parameter in this exercise. Safety of users and workers is crucial, but compliance with all EU regulations is, and should remain, our priority. A compliant product is necessarily a safe one, while the contrary is not necessarily true.”
1 European Commission Communication: A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery ((COM(2012) 582) /3), p.17
2 Mechanical Engineering Industry – A large, successful and heterogeneous sector, European Commission Press release, 22 March 2012
Source: News Room CECE (The Committee of European Construction Equipment