Free movement of goods – a reality across the EU

Businesses across Europe will be able to sell their products across EU countries far more freely following the adoption of a package of measures at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The legislation includes a more vigorous enforcement of the mutual recognition principle – affirmed by the famous 1979 Cassis de Dijon judgement – which means if a product is accepted in one EU country it should be accepted in others too.
Individual Member States have often prevented goods being sold in their country with a range of protectionist measures, leaving affected businesses to argue the contrary at their own, and frequently prohibitive, expense. The new regulation reverses the burden of proof, putting the onus on the Member State authorities to justify their stance.
Free movement of goods, like the free movement of services is enshrined in the 1957 Treaty of Rome and is one of the cornerstones of the European single market.
But from one Member States’ classification of dried garlic as medicine leading to onerous tasting requirements, to expensive additional tests of clothing chemical reactions insisted upon by another, there are hundreds of examples of frustrated companies trying to capitalise on the internal market.
Internal Market and Consumer Protection Spokesman, Malcolm Harbour MEP, said the package of three proposals adopted promises to change all that.
He said: “This package will remove unnecessary burden and cut costs for manufacturers and importers, while at the same time ensuring high safety standards. It’s great news for consumers and businesses across Europe. Consumers will have more choice and businesses will face less red tape.”