New Year update: Consultation launched on the EU Blue Guide - share your thoughts!

The European Commission has launched a consultation on the provisions of the Blue Guide, and is currently inviting interested parties to provide their feedback.

This is the first update to the Blue Guide since 2016 and the consultation provides a unique opportunity to address any issues or develop points that stakeholders think merit further clarification in the current guide.

What is the Blue Guide?

  • The Blue Guide provides authoritative (but non-binding) guidance and advice on how EU product directives are implemented and enforced, and how EU harmonisation measures governing the conditions for placing products on the EU market are interpreted.
  • It is drafted in close cooperation with national authorities and provides considerable guidance to economic operators seeking to ensure that their products comply with the requirements set out in EU products legislation.
  • It also contains helpful information on how market surveillance authorities and courts are likely to interpret the requirements of EU products legislation.

What is the European Commission likely to focus on?

Some of the topics the Commission has indicated will be reflected in the revised Blue Guide include:

  1. The provisions of new EU legislation such as Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on market surveillance; and
  2. Further guidance to better address the digital age, innovative products and the "circular economy".

We regularly monitor developments and understand that the Commission is also likely to provide clearer and more practical guidance on the definition of "placing on the market". This is an area which often results in considerable uncertainty for economic operators launching a product in the EU.

Which areas would benefit from further clarification?

In our view, further clarification in relation to the following would also be advantageous at this time - so watch this space for developments!

  1. The definition of who is considered to be a "manufacturer", "distributor", or "importer" under EU product regulations;
  2. Whether beta / prototype products released to only a few consumers for testing purposes must adhere to all regulatory requirements; and
  3. E-labelling requirements.

Suggestions are welcome and must be submitted by 15 January 2020 to GROW-B1@ec.europa.eu.


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