On 16 October, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that through the use of what are known as Bauregellisten (Building Rules lists) the Federal Republic of Germany had impeded market access to Germany for construction products already carrying CE conformity marking. This practice is in breach of EU law. The EPLF welcomes this judgement and views it as a milestone on the road to permanently removing market barriers that still exist in various member states within the EU.
In Germany, the Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt) stipulates approval through national technical approvals and the Ü mark of conformity, also for CE marked products that are already being legally marketed in other member states. The European Commission had brought an action against the Federal Republic of Germany before the European Court of Justice against this practice. Several years ago, during a discussion with representatives of the DiBt, the EPLF had actually advised about these “non-harmonious” regulations, but this was firmly rejected.
The current ECJ judgement refers specifically to construction products covered by certain harmonised European standards (in this case, doors, gates and thermal insulation products). As the Commission has already received numerous similar complaints from manufacturers and importers relating to the German treatment of further products covered by other harmonised standards, it the view of the EPLF that this judgement should impact the whole German system of Bauregellisten.
The current situation independent of this judgement: The recently passed building products regulation 305/2011/EU widens the opportunity to declare the characteristics of construction products relevant to health and the environment within the CE marking system. In this way, although member states can establish performance requirements for construction products, this is only on condition that by doing so this does not impede the free movement of CE-marked products, the proper function of which is ensured by harmonised European standards. In the case of laminate flooring products manufactured by EPLF members, for example, this creates the opportunity to make their eco-friendliness verifiable in clear and precise terms.
As a European association, the EPLF expressly supports the harmonisation of the EU single market in accordance with applicable European agreements and rules for the free movement of goods
– for construction products and all other products.
Verband der Europäischen Laminatfußbodenhersteller e.V.
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