Parliament wants to better protect consumers from unsafe products

  • EU product safety rules and consumer rights have to be respected
  • Tracing and recalling unsafe products must be improved
  • Online platforms and marketplaces to take more responsibility to ensure products are safe
  • Safety and security crucial for products containing Artificial Intelligence

Parliament calls for greater efforts to remove unsafe products from the EU market and to adapt product safety rules to the digital age.

The resolution on product safety in the Single Market was adopted on Wednesday with 688 in favour (eight against and one abstention).

MEPs emphasise that all products circulating within the EU must comply with product safety rules – whether manufactured inside or outside the EU – in order to assure fairer competition between companies, guarantee traceability, and provide reliable product information to consumers. They urge online platforms and marketplaces to take proactive measures to tackle misleading practices.

Better market surveillance needed

MEPs insist that if EU rules are not respected, products that pose a safety hazard, contain dangerous chemicals, or have unsafe software must be effectively recalled from the EU market and that the market surveillance system has to be improved. They also stress that it is key to adapt product safety rules to the digital transition. Emerging technologies must be safe and secure. To guarantee this, effective checks must be developed to test high-risk products that use Artificial Intelligence, they say.

The resolution refers also to the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, underlining that it is of paramount importance that products used in emergencies, especially medical and protective equipment, are safe.

“Existing product safety rules have to be made fit for the digital age, since products with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence embedded in them challenge these rules. All products sold in the EU must be safe, regardless of if they are sold online or offline, produced in or outside the EU, or include emerging technologies or not. However, innovation should not be held back by red tape. We have to concentrate on closing these existing legal gaps,” said Rapporteur Marion Walsmann (EPP, DE).

New Consumer Agenda

Ahead of the vote, MEPs discussed on Monday the New Consumer Agenda with Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders. The Commissioner emphasised that both Parliament’s product safety and sustainability reports shed light on many of the long-term priorities outlined in the new strategy.

MEPs welcomed the new agenda, but also drew attention to a number of issues, including how passenger rights have been widely breached during the pandemic, with consumers receiving no reimbursement or having to wait too long for it.

Catch up with the debate here.


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