The first waves of the market surveillance reform have now arrived, with the Government submitting to Parliament a proposal for amendments to the Act on the Market Surveillance of Certain Products on 5 October 2020. This is an important proposal that will bring national market surveillance structures into line with the new EU Market Surveillance Regulation. Among other things, the Government proposes that the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency – also known as Tukes – should become a national contact point for market surveillance in Finland.
Effective market surveillance is one of the pillars of the EU’s internal market. Market surveillance ensures that products marketed in the EU do not endanger the health or safety of consumers and that they meet the requirements set for them. Effective market surveillance levels the competitive playing field, because the same rules apply to all who place their products on the market in the Union.
As a contact point, Tukes would have a more prominent role in market surveillance cooperation at both national and EU level. The contact point would, among other things, ensure a common position among all national market surveillance authorities and represent this common position in the network set up by the European Commission. These reforms will not be carried out for the sake of the authorities themselves. The main objective is to further strengthen the confidence among all market participants that market surveillance is effective and operates in the same way throughout Europe. This will create better conditions for the effective functioning of the internal market.
Market surveillance regulation will be modernised
The second wave of the reform will also serve the aim of harmonised market surveillance and the effective functioning of the internal market. The second wave focuses on ensuring that the national market surveillance standards correspond with the modern regulatory framework created by the EU Market Surveillance Regulation. For example, more complex supply chains and e-commerce have created the need for new market surveillance powers.
The long-term work carried out in Finland by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to streamline the regulatory framework of market surveillance will serve as the basis for the preparations in the second wave. The Act on the Market Surveillance of Certain Products, which has been in force since 2017, sets a good foundation for compliance with the modernised EU Regulation. However, legislative amendments are needed to both this Act and various special provisions regulating different product requirements.
The upcoming months will be the most active phase of this legislative work, which will involve several ministries. Simultaneously, the inter-ministerial coordination group set up by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will continue its work. The EU Member States and the European Parliament have set a very ambitious timetable for compliance with the new regulations. The Member States should be ready to start applying the Regulation on 16 July 2021. Prior to that, the amendments to the Act on the Market Surveillance of Certain Products and many other related legislative amendments must be finalised, submitted to Parliament and enacted.
To reiterate, the aim of all this work is to create a more modern and clearer operating environment for consumers and businesses.
Mikko Holm, Senior Government Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment