Orgalime’s reply to the European Commission’s provisional options for an e-compliance system

Published: 28 November 2014

Policies & Issues: Internal Market - Compliance, Standards & Enforcement

Orgalime welcomes the European Commission’s extensive consultation on “exploring how compliance with Union harmonisation legislation can be demonstrated / controlled electronically (“eCompliance” concept)".
Orgalime considers that an e-compliance system could not replace physical checks and on-the-spot controls of products placed on the market, to ensure that market operators are putting on the market products in conformity with both the essential and administrative requirements.
Consequently, e-compliance should develop as a facilitation service for providing documentary evidence to increase the efficiency of market surveillance controls, so that more resources could become available for physical checks on products. Therefore, we support the idea of using electronic means to communicate more quickly with enforcement authorities.
In this framework, we suggest that the Commission should investigate how such electronic means could be made legally acceptable in all EU Member States within the existing framework of applicable internal market legislation (option 0), including the use of a website or an email address as an alternative to a postal address.
However, Orgalime is not in favour of policy options 1 to 4. We believe that these options significantly increase the administrative compliance costs of companies – especially SMEs – and do not ensure that authorities could effectively prevent misuse, fraud and avoidance to comply with legislation. More importantly, we consider that options 1 to 4 challenge the principle of “reasoned request” as given in chapter R2.9 of Decision No 768/2008/EC and on the Directives aligned with it.
We expect that the Commission will carry out a detailed impact assessment of their preferred policy options, with particular attention to their enforcement potential: we see no additional benefits for authorities to work with unreliable, misleading or even simply missing information.
Options 1 and 2 (EU-wide centralised database) in particular would entail serious drawbacks for legitimate market operators, such as a significant increase in administrative burdens and costs, confidentiality, security and translation issues in regards to transferred business-sensitive compliance data. This would run counter to the stated aim of the Commission to reduce administrative burdens on companies. Orgalime is also wary that it would jeopardise their right to redress against an authority’s decision based on register checks only.
We hereby provide you with our detailed answers to the Commission’s note “provisional options for an e-compliance system and relevant questions to the interested parties”.

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