Faulty IT equipment, non-conforming clothing, unsafe toys for our children, devices that have not been given a green light to enter the market - all these are now just one click away thanks to the surge of online commerce. Today, the Socialists and Democrats back a resolution calling on the European Commission to make concrete proposals in order to strengthen product safety in the EU.
Christel Schaldemose MEP, S&D spokeswoman on the internal market and consumer protection, said:
“My wish is that before they enter our homes, products bought online must comply with the highest of safety standards. This is what we fight for!
“The single market was not only developed to enhance business opportunities to traders, but also to provide consumers across the EU with the highest product safety, reasonable prices and better-quality products. However, the existing product safety rules are not fit for the digital age. New markets and new business models must not lead to the principle of product safety being undermined. Instead, we must evaluate and adapt the existing rules, and ensure that regardless of whether a product is purchased online or offline, it should not affect the protection of consumers. That is the signal we send to the Commission today.
“However, today’s vote also illustrated yet again a clear division between left and right on the precautionary principle. Even though we did not succeed in strengthening the principle in the text, the battle is not yet over. We will keep up the pressure to safeguard and strengthen the principle in the upcoming revision of the General Product Safety Directive.”
Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques MEP, S&D negotiator on product safety, said:
“This report is about making product safety rules fit for the digital age. We can see it as a much needed software update of the current legislation, making it bug free, smart and fit for purpose on what concerns consumer protection.
“The S&D Group has always been committed to putting consumer interests first. Among the main messages we want to send to the Commission, is highlighting the presence of the precautionary principle in the report to be taken into account by the competent authorities when taking measures to ensure the safety of consumers, in particular with regard to high-risk innovative products.
“It is true that consumers love new products, but not at the expense of their safety. In addition, we also encouraged the use of blockchain to improve products’ traceability throughout the supply chain and the empowerment of market surveillance authorities. We support, for example, the use of new technologies such as AI so that data analytics can be used to mitigate risk and improve the compliance with product safety legislation. We will continue to fight for these priorities and especially the strengthening of the precautionary principle when the revision of the General Product Safety Directive comes to the Parliament, since this will allow authorities to withdraw from the market those products that might endanger consumers’ safety. ”