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Mutual recognition of goods

The principle of free movement of goods is set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and is directly applicable in all Member States. It obliges Member States to accept products lawfully marketed in another Member State and which are not subject to Union harmonisation unless very specific conditions are met. This means that certain national technical barriers may be justified, while others may not. The mutual recognition principle is a main driver for facilitating the market access in other Member States.

The principle

In intra-EU trade in goods, mutual recognition is the principle that a product lawfully marketed in one Member State and not subject to Union harmonisation should be allowed to be marketed in any other Member State, even when the product does not fully comply with the technical rules of the Member State of destination.

There is one exception to this principle: the Member State of destination may refuse the marketing of a product in its current form only where it can show that this is strictly necessary for the protection of, for example, public safety, health or environment. In that case, the Member State of destination must also demonstrate that its measure is the least trade-restrictive measure.

Legal background

To make the mutual recognition principle fully operational, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/515 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Regulation (EC) No 764/2008.

It defines the rights and obligations of, on the one hand, national authorities and, on the other, enterprises wishing to sell in a Member State products lawfully marketed in another Member State, when the competent authorities intend to take restrictive measures about the product in accordance with national technical rules. In particular, the Regulation concentrates on the burden of proof by setting out the procedural requirements for denying mutual recognition.

The Regulation also reduces the risk for enterprises that their products will not get access to the market of the Member State of destination by establishing "Product Contact Points" in each Member State.

Slovak Product Contact Point

The coordination of implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2019/515 was delegated to the President of Slovak Office of Standards, Metrology and Testing. The UNMS SR as the authority responsible for the Regulation is in charge of its coordinated application and adoption of appropriate measures at the national level. In relation to Article 9 of the Regulation, the Product Contact Point was set up at the Testing and European Affairs Department of the UNMS SR.

In order to facilitate application of the mutual recognition principle and to streamline access of economic operators to the Single Market, the Product Contact Point provides information to economic operators and competent authorities free of charge. The information provided include details on technical rules, the necessity of prior authorization applied on certain products in the Slovak Republic, explanation and/or clarification of the mutual recognition clauses inserted in the national technical regulation, further implementation of the principle of mutual recognition and application of the Regulation, details of competent authorities that respond directly to relevant enquiries as well as information on bodies responsible for supervising the implementation of technical rules or the remedies available in case of disputes between competent authorities and economic operators.

The services provided by the Product Contact Point may be used by importers of products, commercial agents, producers from another Member states or other foreign entities seeking information on Slovak national technical rules. The Contact Point may be contacted also by producers that have already lawfully placed their products on the market in the Slovak Republic and they need further information related to placing these products on a market of another Member State or they request contact details of competent authorities in other Member State.

In addition to these activities the National Product Point provides methodical guidance for other ministries and public administration bodies as regards the application of the Regulation. National Product Contact Point also cooperates with foreign authorities in the enforcement of the principle of mutual recognition.

Contact details:
Slovak Office of Standards, Metrology and Testing
Testing and European Affairs Department
Product Contac PointP.O.Box 76
Štefanovièova 3
810 05 Bratislava
phone: phone: +421 2 57485321, 57485125

Further reading

• European Commission


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