Split over new product safety regulations

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Series Details Vol.7, No.21, 24.5.01, p8
Publication Date 24/05/2001
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Date: 24/05/01

By Peter Chapman

GOVERNMENTS and MEPs are on a collision course over proposed new rules governing product safety.

MEPs want the rules to go further than envisaged by European Commission consumer chief David Byrne and member states. They are demanding that national authorities use the 'precautionary principle' when deciding whether to order firms to take products off the market.

In theory, this could force companies to recall goods even when scientific evidence as to their potential risk to customer health or the environment is inconclusive.

MEPs have also stoked up another row with member states over committee procedures.

Governments want to set up a regulatory team of national experts with powers to call on European standards bodies to develop clear norms for product safety. MEPs fear this would undermine Parliament and want the body to have merely advisory, rather than formal, status.

Stockholm will debate the issue with senior diplomats next week while hoping that informal talks between the two sides and the Commission will iron out most differences.

MEPs have turned their backs on controversial amendments tabled by rapporteur Laura González Álvarez that would have made it easier for authorities to ban the export of products "presenting a serious risk" to non-EU countries. Member states back a less onerous system that allows partial bans or none at all.

Governments and MEPs are on a collision course over proposed new rules governing product safety.

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Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=257159