General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)
What is it?
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (2001/95/EC) applies to manufactured products that can be directly used by consumers, such as garden machinery, lamps, consumer electronics, and household appliances.
In 2013 the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on Consumer Product Safety (CPSR) which aims at replacing the GPSD. However, the legislative process on this proposal has not been concluded at the Council level, because of a disagreement among member states on the proposed mandatory obligation to mark the country of origin on each consumer product.
Why is it important?
The GPSD aims to ensure that all products in the EU’s market are safe for consumers, regardless if they are covered by specific European harmonisation legislation (such as LVD on electrical safety) or the general safety provision of the GPSD itself.
An important achievement in the framework of GPSD was the establishment of a harmonised rapid alert system (RAPEX), which helps co-ordinate national market surveillance efforts to take rapid measures against unsafe consumer products which could have been made available on the market of several member states.
Orgalime's main concern is to maintain a clear separation between the GPSD and specific technical directives, so as to avoid confusion and unnecessary bureaucratic burdens for manufacturers.
We aim also to ensure that member states will improve the funding and staffing of their market surveillance authorities to sanction rogue economic operators and eventually dissuade them, so that consumers can enjoy a high level of safety whilst giving manufacturers a level playing field.
In the same framework, we try to minimise the diverging interpretations of rules among market surveillance authorities, which may restrict the free movement of goods within the EU market. Therefore, we call on policy-makers to make a restrictive use of vague concepts, such as the precautionary principle, and to ban these concepts on either the application level by manufacturers or the enforcement of the GPSD by market surveillance authorities.
How we’ve been engaged
Orgalime considers that the GPSD could be potentially improved. Turning it from a Directive into a Regulation could decrease varying interpretations from one member state to another. However, Orgalime considers that most consumer products are already covered by EU harmonisation legislation which provides the expected high level of safety to consumers. Further complicated requirements on traceability or demonstration of conformity would be too burdensome and costly for economic operators, especially SMEs, without demonstrable improvement for consumers’ safety.
Therefore, Orgalime believes that the EU policy makers should search for ways to improve the implementation of the GPSD and harmonisation legislation and to step up market surveillance.
- Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety
- Commission’s Proposal for Consumer Product Safety
- European Commission’s site on consumer product safety
- RAPEX system