European Parliament approves new product safety rules
During a plenary session, the European Parliament approved revised rules on product safety of non-food consumer products. According to the new rules, products from outside the EU can be sold on the market if an economic operator in the EU is responsible for its safety.
While product safety rules have been in effect for a long time, the European Commission has been working on an adaptation of these rules since June 2021. The new revision focuses on product safety linked to new technologies and challenges posed by the growth of online sales.
‘62% of dangerous products in 2020 were products coming from outside the EU.’
Due to the growth in online cross-border sales in Europe, especially sales originating from outside the EU, it has become harder to ensure product safety. According to Safety Gate’s report in 2020, 62 percent of dangerous products were products coming from outside the EU.
Revised safety assessments
The new rules include measures to take risks for vulnerable consumers (such as children and persons with disabilities), gender aspects and cybersecurity risks into account during safety assessments. Additionally, market surveillance authorities get increased power, while providers of online marketplaces in turn receive more obligations.
‘Unsafe products will be removed from websites in 2 days.’
Online marketplaces need to cooperate with market surveillance authorities to mitigate risks. “Unsafe products will be removed from websites in two days. Consumers will be informed directly via email if they have bought an unsafe product. In addition, they will have a right to a repair, replacement or refund if a product is recalled. Once this law is in place, there will be fewer dangerous products in Europe”, said Dita Charanzová, rapporteur.
Responsibility product safety inside EU
Rules will also change for imported products. “Every product sold must have someone who takes responsibility for it inside the EU.” This means that if a product is coming from outside the EU, it can only be sold if a manufacturer, importer or distributor inside the EU is responsible for its safety.
‘The new rules still need to be endorsed by Council.’
While the parliament has approved the new law, it still needs to be endorsed by the European Council. After that, it will take 18 months until the rules will come into force.