Archive pour la catégorie ‘innovation’

The European Commission proposes to strengthen the coordination of border surveillance

Mardi 13 décembre 2011

EUROSUR program aims to reduce serious crime and the number of migrants who die at sea

Under the EUROSUR mechanism, Member States’ authorities responsible for border surveillance (border guards, coast guards, police, customs and navies) will be able to exchange operational information and cooperate with each other, with Frontex and with neighbouring countries. The increased exchange of information and the use of modern surveillance technology introduced by EUROSUR can also be vital for saving the lives of migrants attempting to reach the shores of EU Member States in small and unseaworthy boats that are very difficult to track.

The exchange of information in the framework of EUROSUR will take the form of ’situational pictures’, which can be described as graphical interfaces presenting data, information and intelligence. These situational pictures will be established at national and European level and will be structured in a similar way to facilitate the flow of information among them. In order to improve the capability of detecting small vessels, Frontex will also set up a service for the common application of surveillance tools, combining, among other things, satellite imagery with information derived from ship reporting systems.

This will increase the possibility of identifying and tracking down the routes used by criminal networks. The fact that traffickers are currently using small wooden and glass-fibre boats for smuggling both human beings and illicit drugs poses a major challenge to law enforcement authorities because it is extremely difficult to detect, identify and track such small boats on the high seas.

Background
Currently in some Member States, up to six different authorities are directly involved in the surveillance of maritime borders, sometimes operating parallel surveillance systems, without clear rules and workflows for cooperation and information exchange among them. Furthermore, in the field of border surveillance there is not only a lack of coordination inside some Member States, but also between Member States, due to the absence of proper procedures, networks or communication channels for the exchange of information.

EUROSUR will bolster information exchange and cooperation between Member States’ border control authorities as well as with Frontex. For this purpose, each Member State with land and maritime external borders will have to establish a national coordination centre for border surveillance, which will exchange information with other national coordination centres and Frontex via a protected communication network.

In 2008, the Commission adopted a Communication examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and set out a roadmap for the development, testing and implementation of the system (MEMO/08/86).

Accordingly, Member States are currently setting up national coordination centres for border surveillance, which will be the single point of contact for real-time data, information and intelligence exchange between border guards, coast guards, police and other national authorities as well as with Frontex and other national coordination centres.

In November 2011, Frontex interlinked on a pilot basis with the first six national coordination centres1 via a protected communication network. The remaining national coordination centres of Member States will be connected in 2012 and 2013.

Together with Member States and other EU agencies, Frontex is currently developing the other components of EUROSUR, which focus in particular on the detection of small vessels used for smuggling human beings as well as drug trafficking.

Today’s Regulation will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council with a view to making EUROSUR operational by the end of 2013.

The priority given to EUROSUR was confirmed by the European Council in June 2011, which asked for the system to be further developed as a matter of priority in order to become operational by 2013 (IP/11/781).

This Regulation forms part of the integrated border management of the external borders and the Internal Security Strategy of the EU (IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598).

In order to improve the control of external borders, the Commission has already proposed to strengthen the overall governance of the Schengen area (for the ‘Schengen package’, see IP/11/1036 and MEMO/11/606) and to set up a more modern and efficient management of traveller flows at its external borders (for the ‘Smart Borders’ initiative see IP/11/1234 and MEMO/11/728).

The European Commission defends freedom of expression on the Web.

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

The new strategy “No Disconnect” is to ensure that ICT remains a factor in democratic and economic development in the world.

VP/HR Catherine Ashton and Vice President Neelie Kroes want to ensure that the European Union and its Member States cooperate closely towards these goals, supporting bottom-up approaches to building and strengthening Internet freedom and democracy in countries where Europe perceives that a vibrant and open Internet is not the norm or where grave human rights abuses take place. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg will liaise with Member States, third countries and NGOs which are committed to work in this area and advise on how to advance the strategy in a co-ordinated and effective manner.

The “No Disconnect strategy” will assist people in four ways:

- Developing and providing technological tools to enhance privacy and security of people living in non-democratic regimes when using ICT.
- Educating and raising awareness of activists about the opportunities and risks of ICT. In particular assisting activists to make best use of tools such as social networks and blogs while raising awareness of surveillance risks when communicating via ICT.
- Gathering high quality intelligence about what is happening “on the ground” in order to monitor the level of surveillance and censorship at a given time, in a given place.
- Cooperation. Developing a practical way to ensure that all stakeholders can share information on their activity and promote multilateral action and building cross-regional cooperation to protect human rights.

Background
The Joint Communication, “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean” (COM(2011) 200) committed the Commission to develop tools to allow the EU, in appropriate cases, to assist civil society organisations or individual citizens to circumvent arbitrary disruptions to access to electronic communications technologies, including the internet. This followed evidence of such disruption or attempted disruption by authoritarian governments during the Arab Spring uprising, for example in Egypt.

Enabling citizens of authoritarian countries to bypass such surveillance and censorship measures depends on two basic conditions: availability of appropriate technologies (in particular software programs that can be installed on one’s desktop computer, laptop, smart-phone or other device) and awareness / knowledge, both of the techniques used by authoritarian regimes to spy on citizens and censor their communications, and of the appropriate counter-measures to use.

Cohesion policy more transparent

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

Member States have decided to strengthen the monitoring of financial instruments available under Cohesion Policy

This will mean that Member States will have to report once a year on progress made in financing and implementing these instruments. Such reporting will allow the Commission to better assess the overall performance of financial instruments across Member States. Together with additional information to be presented with each statement of expenditure, the Commission will be able to produce accurate and comprehensive accounts, which give a true image of the Union’s assets and of the actual budgetary implementation.

Member States are already utilising these financial instruments. Another alternative to traditional funding, which has proven successful in Member States, are the existing schemes of repayable assistance. But there was a need to provide a clear legal framework and a reassurance for their correct continued usage. With the introduction of these new correction mechanisms, the Commission follows recommendations of the European Court of Auditors.

The Member States have agreed on Monday as well with the possibility to increase the co-financing rate for all structural funds for so called programme countries, which receive special assistance, with a maximum of 10 percentage points. This would not lead to a higher allocation of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, Cohesion Fund, Fisheries Fund or European Fund for Rural Development, but would make it easier for cash-strapped Member States to co-finance projects, to create growth and jobs. The European Parliament has approved this increase already. This new possibility will enter into force, together with the improved monitoring on financial instruments, on 19 December of this year.

Background
The Commission encourages the use of financial instruments under cohesion policy, moving away from traditional one-off grants and wants to focus more on them in the next financial perspective. In times of scarce public finances the use of guarantee schemes or repayable assistance is the best way to maximise the impact of EU investment on the ground, ensuring in the long term many more projects can be supported. In the current financial perspective from 2007 until 2013 some 10 billion Euro is available for financial instruments under cohesion policy.

The so-called “repayable assistance” can take the form of either reimbursable grants (partially or totally repayable without interest by project holders) or credit lines offered to beneficiaries through financial institutions, acting as intermediaries. For instance, in Portugal, almost all cohesion policy programmes use repayable forms of assistance to support competitiveness and innovation. As an example, the National Institute for the support of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs ) can provide a reimbursable grant to a beneficiary with a view to a part of this grant being repaid once the project is complete. The investment returned to the national authority is reused for new projects.

European Parliament adopts a European protection of victims

Mardi 6 décembre 2011

MPs propose that henceforth the victims of crime receive the same protection from one Member State to another

Measures to protect crime victims from aggressors already exist in all EU Member States but at present they cease to apply if the victim moves to another country. When it takes effect, the European Protection Order (EPO) will enable anyone protected under criminal law in one EU state to apply for similar protection if they move to another.

On Monday the Civil Liberties Women’s Rights committees endorsed the final text agreed with national governments.

The EPO directive was an initiative originally requested by 12 Member States and promoted by the EU’s Spanish Presidency (first half of 2010).

All crime victims to be covered

MEPs sought from the outset to make it clearer that the rules should cover all victims of crime, not just victims of gender violence. Most protection measures are granted to female victims of gender violence but an EPO could cover victims of either sex and other crimes too.

The rules would apply to victims or possible victims who need protection “against a criminal act of another person which may, in any way, endanger his life, physical, psychological and sexual integrity […] as well as his dignity or personal liberty”. Such acts would include harassment, abduction, stalking and “other forms of indirect coercion”.

Keeping aggressors away

The agreed text says that once a person is granted protection in one Member State under domestic criminal law, s/he may request an EPO to extend this protection to another EU country to which s/he decides to move. It will be up to the Member State of origin to issue the EPO and forward it to the other country.

An EPO may be issued only if the aggressor is banned by the initial country from places where the protected person resides or which s/he visits, or if restrictions are imposed on contact or approaches by the aggressor to the protected person.

The person causing the danger should have a right to be heard and to challenge the EPO. However, in the notification of the aggressor or potential aggressor, “due regard should be taken to the interest of the protected person of not having his/her address or other contact details disclosed”, stresses the text.

This directive would only apply to protection measures taken in criminal matters. However, due to differences among Member States’ legal systems, the country to which the person moves may apply other kinds of measures (criminal, administrative or civil), provided they guarantee a similar level of protection.

Protecting victims’ relatives

Thanks to MEPs, an EPO may also be requested to safeguard relatives of a beneficiary of a European Protection Order.

Wide protection for victims: new legislation to cover civil matters

The EPO in criminal matters will be complemented by separate legislation for civil matters. To that end, the Commission proposed in May 2011 a regulation on mutual recognition of protection afforded by civil law. The combination of the two instruments (the EPO directive and the regulation) should cover the broadest possible range of protection measures for victims issued in the Member States.

Next steps

Parliament is to vote on the final text at the December plenary session. Once formally adopted, Member States will have three years to transpose the new directive into national law.

The European Commission proposes an asylum policy more inclusive

Vendredi 2 décembre 2011

The Commission has responded to the events of the Arab Spring and lack of mutual trust between Member States

Solidarity has to be at the core of EU asylum policy and the European Commission is working in this direction. Even though common rules are, to a large extent, already in place, asylum solidarity between EU member states is still far too weak. Some countries’ asylum systems do not function well enough. Other countries simply accept far too few asylum seekers, for example, in the first half of this year, over 75% of all asylum applications were made in only 6 Member States (France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy), meaning that many EU members could take a far greater share of the responsibility. In addition, unforeseen events can over-stretch the capacity of any Member State and the European Union has to be prepared to support these Member States, so that people who arrive are received in dignity.

In a Communication adopted today on “Enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum”, the European Commission proposes to improve asylum systems through the interaction of EU legislation, an enhanced practical cooperation and a better use of EU funding mechanisms.

This will notably be achieved by:

- making the supporting role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) more effective. Practical cooperation could, for example, be strengthened by making it easier to send officials to help Member States facing particular pressure
- increasing the amount of funds available to Member States and making these more flexible, taking into account significant fluctuations in the number of asylum seekers
- further developing and encouraging the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection amongst EU Member States, notably through financial assistance
introducing an evaluation and early warning mechanism to detect and address emerging problems in Member States’ asylum systems.
Drawing on lessons from the Union’s reaction to the migratory consequences of the events in the Southern Mediterranean, the Communication emphasises in particular the need for better coordination between Union agencies such as, Frontex, Europol and the Fundamental Rights Agency. A reinforcement of cross-agency cooperation is important both when reacting to emergencies and in proactive work, such as risk analysis and early warning capacity.

Background
Asylum flows are not constant, nor are they evenly distributed across the EU. They have, for example, varied from a peak of 425 000 applications for EU-27 States in 2001 down to under 200 000 in 2006, and up to 260 000 in 2010. An increase is expected this year, with the number of asylum applications up by 14% in the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010.

Solidarity has been a central tenet in the field of EU migration for over a decade, since the very beginning of the Union’s common asylum policy (CEAS), and is now enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The need to translate solidarity into concrete measures flows from practical realities since Member States’ asylum systems are also interdependent: an overburdened or malfunctioning system in one Member State has a clear impact on all the others.

It is thus the Union’s responsibility to assist these Member States and to uphold the Union’s common values and fundamental rights. Member States, in turn, must ensure that their asylum systems meet the standards set by international and European law, notably through the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The Stockholm Programme, the roadmap for EU action in the justice, freedom and security field, also calls for the Union to strengthen solidarity on asylum. In particular, it calls for solidarity between Member States as they collectively shoulder the responsibility of setting up a humane and efficient system to manage asylum flows. Today’s Communication is a step closer in answering that call.

The European Union is more effective security measures

Vendredi 25 novembre 2011

The European Commission today presented its first report on the internal security policy initiated a year ago.

As security threats emerge and evolve, the EU must be ready to respond. In July this year, a right-wing extremist in Norway carried out a devastating terrorist attack. In August, public authorities in the UK seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine in a record haul. Across the EU, cyber attacks increasingly wreak havoc on public and private computer systems. These are stark reminders of the importance of taking action to counter threats to internal security.

A fresh Eurobarometer opinion poll shows that four out of ten Europeans want the EU to do more to tackle the security challenges outlined in the ISS. Many Europeans also believe that the threats will intensify over the next three years, with cybercrime seen as the security challenge most likely to worsen (see MEMO/11/829).

They are not far off the mark, as the ISS report shows that there are at least three emerging threats of particular concern. Firstly, the internet, now an integral and indispensable part of our everyday lives, is becoming an online facilitator for a wide range of criminal activities and a vehicle for terrorist propaganda. Secondly, the impact of the ongoing economic crises means that public authorities have fewer resources available to combat internal security threats. Thirdly, recent developments in the EU’s neighbourhood, including the overwhelmingly positive, democratic developments of the Arab Spring, have created considerable movements of people. This, in turn, puts pressure on the EU’s external border and, in some cases, creates conditions for increased criminal activity.

In 2012, as a concrete follow up to the priorities identified in the ISS, the EU Commission will, amongst other measures, adopt a package on confiscation and recovery of criminal assets, organise a high level conference on countering violent extremism and develop an overarching European strategy for Internet security.

Background
As part of the Stockholm Programme, in November 2010, the Commission adopted the Internal Security Strategy in Action and outlined five priorities for the EU for the coming four years (see IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598).

The first annual report, released today, highlights progress in the following areas:

- The fight against organised crime: Significant progress has been marked by the Commission’s proposal for EU legislation on the collection of Passenger Name Records on flights entering or leaving the EU and the anti-corruption package, adopted in June 2011. Further progress is needed on judicial and law enforcement cooperation, and on the development of an administrative approach to combating serious crime.
- Terrorism and radicalisation: The Commission set up a European Radicalisation Awareness Network and adopted a Communication on an EU Terrorist Financing Tracking System. Further efforts are needed in relation to a framework for administrative measures on the freezing of terrorist assets and the improvement of land transport security.
- Cybercrime: Progress has been made towards setting up a European Cybercrime Centre and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT). In the future, several Member States will need to take urgent action to ratify the Budapest Convention which provides a framework for international cooperation in this area.
- Border management: Significant progress has been made in 2011 with the launch of the Visa Information System (VIS); the deployment of FRONTEX operations HERMES (migration flows in the Mediterranean) and RABIT (at Greek-Turkish border); as well as Commission proposals for an improved Schengen evaluation and monitoring and for the establishment of the European Border Surveillance system (EUROSUR) by 2013. In 2012, the Commission will make suggestions on how to improve the coordination of border checks carried out by different national authorities (police, border guards, and customs).
- Crisis and disaster management. Through Europol, Frontex, the EU Joint Situation Centre (SitCen) and the Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), the EU is able to draw on expertise in information gathering, analysis, threat assessment and emergency response in the different areas of internal security. In the future, Europe has to gradually move towards a coherent risk management policy, linking threat and risk assessment to policy formulation and implementation. Cooperation between Member States, the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) is essential in this respect.
- External dimension of EU security. Several initiatives were developed in 2011 to foster inter-institutional cooperation and coordination on terrorism, trans-national crime and irregular migration in the Western Balkans, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. The EEAS and the Commission also issued a Joint Paper on enhancing ties between the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Freedom, Security and Justice (JHA) actors, including possibilities for cooperation between the CSDP police missions and Europol.

The European Commission facilitates the resolution of border disputes

Jeudi 24 novembre 2011

The Commission has taken steps to facilitate access to justice after an infringement proceedings against six Member States

The Mediation Directive applies when two parties involved in a cross-border dispute voluntarily agree to settle their dispute using an impartial mediator. The deadline for transposing the Directive into national law was 21 May 2011. The Commission will send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands for failing to meet this deadline. Meanwhile, the Commission has closed infringement proceedings against Finland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom after they informed the Commission of their relevant national rules.

Settling disputes and disagreements through courts is often costly and time-consuming. Cross-border cases are particularly complex due to different national laws and practical matters like costs or language. Mediation is an important alternative to going to court in cross-border disputes and can help parties find an amicable settlement. It saves time, money and spares parties involved in already emotional family cases the additional trauma of going to court.

Under the rules of the Directive, Member States have to make sure mediated agreements can be enforced. According to an EU-funded study, the time wasted by not using mediation is estimated at an average of between 331 and 446 extra days in the EU, with extra legal costs ranging from €12,471 to €13,738 per case.

Background
Directive 2008/52/EC on mediation in civil and commercial matters was adopted on 23 April 2008 ( IP/08/628 ). The Commission proposed the Directive in October 2004 ( IP/04/1288 ).

Mediation can solve problems between businesses, employers and employees, landlords and tenants, or families, so that they can maintain and even strengthen their relationship in a constructive way – a result that cannot always be achieved through court proceedings. Settling disputes out of court spares justice systems’ resources and can potentially cut legal costs. A crucial element in any mediation is trust in the process, especially when two parties come from different countries. EU rules therefore encourage Member States to provide quality control, establish codes of conduct and offer training to mediators to make sure there is an effective mediation system in place.

All EU Member States should now have measures in place to transpose the EU legislation. In August 2010 the Commission called on all Member States to implement the EU Mediation Directive on time (see IP/10/1060 ). It then began legal proceedings by sending “letters of formal notice” to nine countries (Czech Republic, Spain, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) in July 2011 ( IP/11/919 ). Three of them (Finland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) notified the Commission of their national measures while the other six (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) will now receive a reasoned opinion for failing to do so. 20 Member States have the rules in place now, while Denmark is not bound by the Directive – a prerogative it has under a protocol annexed to the EU Treaties.

A step towards the European Patent

Mercredi 23 novembre 2011

Parliament help the introduction of this patent which will improve the competitiveness

The European Parliament’s rapporteurs, who will negotiate with national governments, will treat the three proposals (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court) as a package, meaning none will be agreed without the others. According to the mandate, approved by the committee with 16 votes in favour and 3 against, the MEP negotiators will also ask that the three laws to enter into force at the same time.

The aim of creating an EU patent is twofold. First to reduce current patenting costs by up to 80%, so as to improve the competitive position of EU firms vis-à-vis their counterparts in the US and Japan, where patents are substantially cheaper. Second, it should help to avoid the legal confusion created when dealing with differing national patent laws.

MEPs aim to cut costs for small firms

The first piece of legislation in the package is a regulation setting up a unitary patent protection system. The committee endorsed the Commission proposal, and in particular a provision allowing inventors from countries currently outside the procedure to apply for an EU patent.

Rapporteur Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, DE) will strive to amend the text so as to introduce specific provisions to ensure that small firms benefit from reduced costs and a sound system for distributing patent renewal fees. (Renewal fees account for a big share of total costs, and the economic sustainability of the system as a whole depends upon them).

What language for EU-wide patents?

The proposed regime for translating EU patents would make them available in German, English and French, although applications could be submitted in any EU language. Translation costs from a language other than the three official ones would be compensated.

Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, IT), rapporteur for this second regulation, will also ask for a special provisions for small firms, including a special reimbursement and an easier access to patent protection.

Enforcing protection

An international agreement is currently being negotiated by Member States participating in the procedure to create a unified patent court so as to reduce costs and uncertainty as to the law due to differing national interpretations.

Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE), rapporteur for the last piece of the package, will seek to ensure that the litigation system is efficient, by giving it a decentralised structure, clear procedural rules and judges selected for their competence.

The legislation is being dealt under the so-called “enhanced cooperation procedure”, which allows groups of Member States to integrate policies further, even where others do not agree. Spain and Italy have so far opted out of work on the patent proposal, but could join the decision-making process at any time. This procedure was adopted to unblock the file, long stalled over language issues.

EuroLat Assembly

Mardi 22 novembre 2011

MEPs and representatives of Latin America met to discuss the financial crisis, Mercosur and organized crime.

Co-Presidents José Ignacio Salafranca (EPP, ES) and Gloria Oquelí (Central American Parliament), will open a joint session of the Assembly’s standing committees at 9.30 on Tuesday, 22 November, at the European Parliament in Brussels.. The three standing committees, on political, economic and social affairs, will then convene separately on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

The Eurolat Executive Bureau will be addressed by special guest María Emma Mejía Vélez, Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) on Tuesday morning and by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on Wednesday afternoon. These two meetings will be open to all members.

Details of the standing committees’ discussions are as follows:

Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights

- Combating drug trafficking and organised crime (joint motion for a resolution)
- Citizen participation and democracy in the EU and Latin America (topic for debate)
- Relations between Dominican Republic and Haiti (urgent topic)

Committee on Economic, Financial and Commercial Affairs

- Globalization and the financial crisis (joint motion for a resolution)
- EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) trade in raw materials (topic for debate)
- State of play of the ratification of EU-Central America Association Agreement and the Trade Agreement EU-Colombia and Peru; perspectives for Ecuador and Bolivia; state of play of negotiations for an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement (urgent topic)

Committee on Social Affairs, Human Exchanges, Environment, Education and Culture

- Prevention of natural disasters in Europe and Latin America (joint motion for a resolution)
Formal and informal education and continuous education (topic for debate)
- Exchange of views with a representative of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on social inclusion and development technologies (@lis Programme) (urgent topic)
- Exchange of views with Isabel Recavarren, coordinator of the Euro-Latin American Women’s Forum, on the progress of work in the forum and outlook for the future

Working Group on EU-LAC Migration Issues

The EU’s immigration policy and the creation of the migration observatory will be under discussion at the meeting of this working group.

The European Union guarantee a better product safety

Lundi 21 novembre 2011

Nine directives for different industrial sectors will enable better security of European products

Market surveillance and customs officers can now better check the safety of products using more effective tools. In addition, Member States can improve the supervision of monitoring bodies that check the conformity of products with EU law, for example ensuring that the CE marking has been properly applied by manufacturers.

Certain provisions (see below) of the nine directives are being aligned with model provisions developed at EU level to overcome divergences in EU law which make life hard for businesses. In the future, producers, importers and distributors will profit from uniform trading conditions. At the same time this process will further improve the safety of products on sale in the EU by strengthening compliance procedures and make it easier to keep non-compliant products off the market.

Background
The changes made to the nine directives on alignment relate to definitions (for example “manufacturer”, “making available on the market”, “CE marking”), the obligations of economic operators, traceability requirements, conformity assessment bodies and procedures, CE marking and so on.

Obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors
All products in the nine sectors marketed in the EU must carry a CE conformity marking , which is the manufacturer’s declaration that they satisfy all of the essential requirements of the applicable directive(s). Products that are CE marked enjoy free circulation in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Before obtaining the CE mark a manufacturer has to carry out a safety and conformity assessment. The manufacturer has to establish more comprehensive technical documentation for products and must ensure traceability.

Importers must check whether manufacturers have carried out conformity assessment of products correctly and if necessary must carry out random tests themselves.

The nine industry sectors concerned by the alignment
The Commission proposes to align the following directives which all ensure the free movement of goods in the sectors concerned:

- Low Voltage Directive : Directive 2006/95/EEC
- Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive: Directive 2004/108/EC
- Simple Pressure Vessels Directive: Council Directive 2009/105/EC
- Measuring Instruments Directive : Directive 2004/22/EC
- Non-automatic Weighing Instruments Directive: Directive 2009/23/EC
- Civil Explosives Directive : Council Directive 93/15/EEC
- Pyrotechnic articles : Directive 2007/23/EC
- ATEX Directive : Directive 94/9/EC on equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
- Lifts Directive : Directive 95/16/EC .

The New Legislative Framework for marketing of products entered into force on 1 January 2010. Designed to improve the operation of the internal market in goods, the main aim is to ensure the safety of citizens and reduce the number of products on the market which do not satisfy EU legislation. Another objective is to improve the quality of the work performed by bodies active in testing and certifying products. Furthermore the Framework should also bring more consistency to the whole regulatory framework for products and simplify its application.