The European Commission is currently seeking public comment as part of its review of the EU General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (Directive 2001/95/EC).

The GPSD sets out a broad regulatory framework for the placement of non-food consumer products (not regulated by other product specific EU legislation) on the EU market. In particular, it establishes the general safety requirement, that producers must only place safe products on the EU market, and requires that appropriate steps are taken where there are risks to consumers. The GPSD also established the EU Rapid Alert System (Safety Gate), a platform for communication between EU member states and the European Commission on dangerous products. The GPSD must be transposed into the national law of all EU member states, and subsequently there may be some variations between jurisdictions.

The review of the GPSD proposes to consider whether it still appropriately regulates the safety of consumer products across the EU, especially given its adoption in 2001 and the significant developments in both technology and consumer markets over this period. In particular, the European Commission intends to address the following issues as part of its initiative:

  • the many product safety challenges related to the development of new technologies;
  • the product safety challenges involved in the rapid development of online marketplaces, in particular relating to market surveillance, consumer protection, and the growth of products entering the market from outside the EU;
  • the effectiveness of product recall for dangerous goods on the EU market which is considered insufficient;
  • the ineffectiveness and complexity of market surveillance rules for authorities to ensure the safety of products on the EU market; and
  • the inconsistency in the application of product safety rules relating to food-imitating products, which is currently jurisdictionally specific.

The European Commission is currently seeking feedback on its combined evaluation roadmap and inception impact assessment report (available here) for the review of the GPSD. Submissions must be made through the Commission’s online portal by 1 September 2020.

The European Commission has also opened public consultation in parallel, as part of a broader consultation of consumer policy initiatives proposed to be adopted in 2020 or 2021. The online public questionnaire is available through the Commission’s consultation portal (available here) and submissions must be made by 6 October 2020.

Consultation will continue into Q4 of 2020, with any changes as a result of the review anticipated to occur in Q2 of 2021.

Please refer to the European Commission’s review page for more detail (available here).