The European regulation on market surveillance and compliance of products
Market surveillance for more security and safety
The aim of the regulation is to strengthen market surveillance of products covered by EU harmonisation legislation. Why? To ensure a high level of protection of health and safety in general and in the workplace, as well as the protection of consumers, the environment, public safety and other public interests.
The Market Surveillance Regulation not only sets out legislation and procedures for economic operators, but also regulates a system for their cooperation with the supervisory authorities. This concerns controls for products imported into the EU.
Who is referred to as economic operators?
According to Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and the conformity of products nearly all products covered by a CE Directive may only be offered for sale if there is a responsible economic operator in the European Union.
Economic operator within the meaning of the Market Surveillance Regulation are:
a manufacturer established in the Union;
an importer, where the manufacturer is not established in the Union;
an authorised representative who has a written mandate from the manufacturer designating the authorised representative to perform tasks on the manufacturer's behalf; or
a fulfilment service provider established in the Union with respect to the products it handles, where no other economic operator is established in the Union.
Obligations as an economic operator
For economic operators, in particular for importers and fulfilment service providers, legal obligations arise from the Market Surveillance Regulation.
The economic operator shall:
keep the EU declarations of conformity and performance and make them and the Technical Documentation available to the authorities upon request;
inform the authorities if he considers that a product poses a risk;
cooperate with the authorities, upon request, by taking prompt corrective action if a product is found not to be in conformity (corrective action is ranging from correcting the defect to recalling or destroying the product) and contribute to eliminating or reducing risks;
mark the product, packaging or accompanying document with his name and contact details.
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In addition to the new definition of a responsible economic operator in the EU, the term "placing on the market" or "making available" of a product for online platforms is also specified. To this end, the new regulation stipulates that offering a product on the internet to end users is already considered as making it available on the market. The online offering of goods is thus equated with the sale of a product by the stationary trade. This means that an internet provider established in the community becomes an importer if he offers goods from a third country on the community market.
The EU regulation 2019/1020 also redefines the powers and organisation of the market surveillance authorities and obliges the member states to draw up a market surveillance strategy every four years.
2021 – Amendment & Enactment
From 16. July 2021 the new REGULATION (EU) 2019/1020 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products is binding.
It is and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011.
2008 – Enactment
The EU regulation 765/2008 on the Rules for Accreditation and Market Surveillance enters into force.