Eurosafe Consumer safety
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Consumer safety  print friendly

The mission of the Consumer Safety Programme is to assist in improving coordinated market surveillance and enforcement activities in Europe. This has led to the creation of the PROSAFE-network (the Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe). PROSAFE is a non-profit organisation established by market surveillance officers from various countries throughout Europe.

A special issue that needs further investigation and development, is risk assessment. As a follow up of the conference on Risk assessment held by EuroSafe in April 2005, a Working Party has been established in order to ensure a better link between the scientific community and current practices in assessing the risks of non-food products.

Effective regulations and coordinated market surveillance in Europe is essential for ensuring that a high level of consumer safety protection is warranted and that a level playing field is established for businesses within the EU. The single market will only work if the level of safety demanded by Member States is the same and is being controlled at similar levels of intensity, competencies and technical requirements.
Much has been achieved in the domain of harmonising safety requirements and in ensuring general safety requirements applicable to all consumer products that are brought into circulation within the EU. However in regard to coordinated surveillance and enforcement in Europe, there is still a need for further development and improvement, as in too many instances enforcement co-ordination in this domain has proven to be:

  • subject to shortcomings and delays in communication and in sharing of knowledge;
  • inconsistent in risk assessments performed and in decisions made accordingly;
  • insufficiently contributing to the creation of a body of knowledge and practical expertise at European level that is basic to decision-making at community level.

Market surveillance authorities within the Member States have developed basic competencies in market surveillance, but in particular smaller countries have very limited resources for creating core competencies in this domain. Even larger organisations have to cope with the challenges of maintaining a knowledge base and to build a ‘collective memory’ based on practical experiences and enforcement intelligence. No one wants to reinvent the wheel, but it is difficult to find and utilise existing expertise and practices available in other Member States.