Mutual Recognition of goods
The principle of mutual recognition ensures market access for products that are not subject to EU harmonisation. Find information on when and how this applies.
The mutual recognition principle ensures market access for goods that are not, or are only partly subject to EU harmonisation legislation. It guarantees that any good lawfully sold in one EU Member State can be sold in another. This is possible even if the good does not fully comply with the technical rules of the other Member State, although there may be exceptions where public safety, health or the environment are concerned.
It follows from the principle that a product which complies with the requirements in the first Member State in which it is marketed is allowed to be marketed in any further Member State, except when that Member State adopts an administrative decision based on justified and proportionate national technical rules to prohibit, modify or withdraw that product from the market.
A Member State's refusal of mutual recognition must be justified and strictly necessary for the protection of, for example, public safety, health or environment. In that case, the Member State of destination must also demonstrate that its measures are the least trade-restrictive.
The principle follows from articles 34 and 36 of the EC Treaty as well as the case law of the European Court of Justice. To make the principle of mutual recognition fully operational, the European Parliament and the Council have adopted the new Regulation (EU) 2019/515 on mutual recognition. See further below.
Where product requirements are harmonised throughout the EU, the principle of mutual recognition does not apply. A product must comply with the harmonised requirements before it is marketed in any EU Member State.
Find an overview of product requirements in general on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comply with national assessment procedure If your goods are lawfully marketed in one Member State and you want to market it in another Member State, you must comply with national assessment procedures if a competent national authority wants to assess your product. However, you may make the goods available on the market during the assessment procedure, unless the national authority has made a temporary suspension of the market access and notified the economic operator.
If in doubt about national technical rules, ask the Product Contact Points in the respective Member State. Find a link to the list of every Product Contact Point in the bottom of the page.
Submit a voluntary declaration as evidence To ease the process, you may choose to fill out the voluntary mutual recognition declaraton and make it available to the authorities, for example by uploading it on your webpage. When this declaration is filled out correctly (as showed in the annex of Regulation (EU) 2019/515), the authority cannot require more information during the assessment procedure about whether the product has been legally marketed in another Member State. If the economic operator does not use the declaration, the authority can ask for the necessary information. As the declaration shall follow the specific structure showed in the annex of Regulation (EU) 2019/515, we recommend that the template published by the European Commission is used. We recommend filling it out in English, butit may be filled out in another official EU language. Read further on ec.europa.eu about how to write it.
Raise issues through SOLVIT If you encounter issues with the process, try using the problem-solving procedure in SOLVIT to find a solution.
Regulation 2019/515 on mutual recognition defines the rights and obligations of national authorities that intend to take a decision that may restrict certain non-harmonised products' free movement in one Member State, when the products have already been lawfully marketed in other Member States. In particular, the regulation
lays down the rules and procedures to be followed by the national competent authorities in assessment of goods, including a minimum deadline, and requirements for the reasons in an administrative decision;
makes clear that economic operators may make the product available on the market during the assessment procedure, unless the national authority has made a temporary suspension of the market access and notified the economic operator;
provides that economic operators may evidence the lawful marketing of a product in another member state in a voluntary declaration of mutual recognition. Read further on ec. europa.eu.
strengthens the access to remedy an unlawful administrative decision through the problem-solving procedure in SOLVIT; and
provides for the establishment of Product Contact Points in all Member States.
If you want to know more, we recommend that you start by reading the guidance document for the application of the Mutual Recognition Regulation (EU) 2019/515.
Further guidance in applying the principle in practice is available in the training material for authorities which exemplifies the application of the principle of mutual recognition to food supplements.
You can also learn more about the scope of application by reading the guidance document on the concept of ‘lawfully marketed’, which has been continued from the old regulation (EU) 764/2008.
Further, the following indicative, non-binding guidance documents were adopted to ease the application of the former Regulation (EC) 764/2008 on mutual recognition within certain specific sectors:
More information on the guidance documents can be obtained from the Commission's DG GROW, Mutual Recognition: email@example.com
Further, the Danish Business Authority has developed guidelines for the application of the former Regulation (EC) 764/2008 on Mutual recognition: