European Court of Justice rules favourably for the
Commission over the German barriers to trade in
Published on: 21/10/2014
German requirements that construction products must have additional national marks or approvals, despite the fact that they already have a CE-mark and are legally marketed in other Member States are breaching the European rules of free movement of goods.
This was confirmed by the European Court of Justice on 16/10/2014. Such an outcome represents a significant step forwards for the consolidation of the Internal Market for construction products and the Commission services will work closely with the German authorities to effectively address the needs brought about by the Court judgement.
Under the newly adopted Construction Products Regulation (305/2011/EU), Member States retain competence to establish performance requirements for construction products, but on condition that Member States do not impede the free movement of CE-marked products, the proper function of which is ensured by harmonised European standards. These introduce a “common technical language” for expressing and defining the performance of construction
products. If Member States require products covered by a harmonised standard to undergo additional testing, in spite of having been CE-marked, it creates barriers of trade within the Single Market. Before the Commission decided to refer Germany to the Court there were extensive exchanges of information between the Commission and Germany, in which the German authorities acknowledged the use of and reliance on the national system of
Bauregellisten, necessitating Ü marks for certain construction products.
This national system requires construction products that are already CE-marked to undergo additional testing and acquire national approval, before they can be marketed in Germany. The Commission had received numerous complaints from manufacturers and importers of construction products, who have had difficulties to sell their products on the German market. This case focused on construction products covered by certain harmonised European
standards (notably doors, gates and thermal insulation products). However, as the Commission had been receiving a large number of similar complaints regarding the German treatment of products covered by several other harmonised standards, the judgement of the Court impacts the whole German system of Bauregellisten.
With around 15% of EU manufacturing added value, but only 5% of intra-EU trade, the construction products sector is less open than other sectors of manufactured goods. “Construction products” include more than 40 families of products such as doors, thermal insulating products, cement, roofing products or bricks.
Construction Products Regulation Free movement of goods
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