1. SAFETY GATE RAPID ALERT SYSTEM (previously RAPEX)
Safety Gate is an EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food consumer products other than pharmaceuticals. It is used for reporting of direct and indirect risks to the health or safety of consumers who might come into contact with dangerous products.
The purpose of the Safety Gate is to ensure the rapid exchange of information between EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the European Commission on the measures taken by Member States to prevent, restrict or to put conditions on placing on the market or use of products likely to present the above risks. In addition to enforcement measures imposed by the competent supervisory authorities, voluntary measures by manufacturers and distributors are part of the notifications to the Safety Gate. The contact point of the Safety Gate warning system for the Czech Republic towards the European Commission is the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.
The legal basis of the system is given by Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on General Product Safety and Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/417. It is implemented into the legal environment of the Czech Republic by Act No. 102/2001 Coll., on General Product Safety and Government Regulation No. 396/2004 Coll., on procedures, content and form of information on the occurrence of dangerous non-food products.
The system also includes a public section, which is intended for consumers, economic operators, and other users, which can be accessed under the name Safety Gate. There is available to the public up-to-date information on identified dangerous non-food products and the potential risk these products may pose to end-users. There is also a concentration of information on activities developed on a European scale to eliminate the presence of potentially dangerous products on the EU single market, advice and information for consumers as well as tools that can be used by entrepreneurs in the field of reporting dangerous products, the recall of dangerous products already used by consumers, the issue of online sales, etc.
Staff from national supervisory authorities, customs administrations and EU administrations use non-public access to the system where information on dangerous non-food products is entered and exchanged between the organisations concerned.
2. ICSMS – INFORMATION AND INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR MARKET SURVEILLANCE
The ICSMS is used namely by market surveillance authorities for the rapid and efficient exchange of information on inspected products. It contains a public section, which is intended for consumers, economic operators and other users, who can find information on the market surveillance authorities according to their surveillance competence and the focus of national control activities. The non-public part of this system, which is intended for market surveillance authorities, customs authorities and EU administrations, contains further information on the products checked. The national administrator of ICSMS in the Czech Republic is the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The ICSMS information system is currently gaining importance due to its gradual direct link to the Safety Gate Rapid Alert System and, in particular, for the sharing and analysis of data on products covered by all product directives and regulations of the European Union as well as by national legislation. At the same time, information on measures subject to the Union safeguard procedure (Safeguard Notifications) under individual sectoral regulations and directives of the European Union is provided through ICSMS.
Information on ICSMS, national market surveillance activities, or the possibility of finding a market surveillance authority competent for the product area and the state/administrative district can be accessed via ICSMS – European Commission (europa.eu).
3. THE CIRCABC INFORMATION SYSTEM
The European Commission Information System CIRCABC (Communication and Information Resource Centre Administrator, Businesses and Citizens) is an IT multilingual platform designed to share resources, information to users and facilitate their cooperation. The CIRCABC information system is used by a number of institutions belonging to the European Commission and by external members of these organisations, including various international working groups. The Czech Trade Inspection Authority uses this system, for example, within the ADCO working groups, of which it is a member and which use their dedicated workspaces (parts) in the CIRCABC information system.
4. THE ADCO WORKING GROUPS
Since 2004, the CTIA has been a registered member of several Working Groups of the European Commission, which deal with the issues related to product legislation for product sectors, where the CTIA has the market surveillance powers. The CTIA experts participate on the meetings of e.g. the ADCO LVD (directive for low voltage products), ADCO EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), ADCO TOYS (safety of toys), ADCO RED (radio equipment directive), ADCO LIFTS (lifts directive), ADCO ATEX (equipment used in explosive environments), ADCO MI (measure instruments directive), ADCO GA (gas appliances regulation), ADCO PED (pressure equipment directive), ADCO TPED (transportable pressure equipment), ADCO MACHINERY (machinery directive), ADCO NOISE (direction of noise emissions in the environment by equipment for outdoor use), ADCO CPR (constructions products), ADCO PPE (personal protective equipment regulation), ADCO TEXTILE (textile labelling regulation), ADCO MED (marine equipment directive) and ADCO RCD (recreational crafts directive). In the framework of the ADCO groups, the CTIA also participate in international market surveillance projects.
5. COOPERATION WITH EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND NATIONAL MARKET SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITIES IN EU MEMBER STATES
The European Commission coordinates a number of activities to promote the effectiveness of legislation that has been created to increase consumer protection. In the area of product safety, the market surveillance authorities of the Member States participate in these activities. The exchange of information between national surveillance authorities takes place mainly at the level of ADCO administrative cooperation groups and in the framework of coordinated market surveillance projects. The aim of the ADCO Groups is to prepare the basis for the further heading of legislation supporting the interests in the protection of consumer. Market surveillance projects provide feedback on the market situation in the Member States and their outputs serve for targeted and in-depth market surveillance in specific areas. Market surveillance projects are coordinated by ADCO Groups in Joint Actions projects, and outside of them within the framework of CASP (Coordinated Activities on Safety of Products) projects. Their funding is largely borne by the European Commission.
CASP (Coordinated Activities on Safety of Products) is an yearly project of control activities aimed at specific product groups selected on the basis of recommendations of control authorities of EU member states. The recommendations are resulting from the monitoring of problematic products on the market, new technologies and identified problems. The programme also includes horizontal and information sharing activities in different fields of market surveillance authorities’ activities. Thanks to this administrative cooperation and mutual information exchange, the inspections carried out are streamlined, the meetings help to clarify opinions and to harmonise the procedures of national surveillance authorities in solving possible problems for different range of consumer products in the exercise of surveillance on the internal market.
Information about projects can be found on the CASP website.
Under the common denomination of Joint Actions, series of market surveillance control projects are being organized, aimed at checking the technical requirements for products laid down in the relevant EU directives and regulations for the placing of products on the EU and EFTA single market. The selection of the focus of the projects is based on analyses and recommendations discussed at the Administrative Cooperation Groups. Selected product groups are subjected to coordinated checks of compliance including verification of the required properties by accredited tests. The outputs of these projects are evaluated for the needs of further work of market surveillance, in the field of standardisation and legislative activities, and allow to focus at supranational level on current and emerging issues, especially in relation to technological development.
The market surveillance program of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority is included in the periodic National Market Surveillance Strategy of the Czech Republic, which is prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic in accordance with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council on market surveillance and compliance of products.
6. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
Taking part in international market surveillance activities within ADCO, CASP etc. requires regularly the participation of professional staff in the business meetings held face-to face or in a virtual space. Apart from the international surveillance activities in CASP and ADCO projects, the Czech Trade Inspection Authority’s experts are active in working groups set up by the European Commission or other organisations and take part in specialised seminars and trainings. Information about foreign activities of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority is regularly published in the Annual Reports and Expenditure Account Reports, which are available to public on the website of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority.
7. CPCS SYSTEM
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority cooperates with surveillance authorities from other Member States of the European Union also on the basis of Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004. The Directives and Regulations to which this Regulation applies are listed in the Annex to the Regulation. The Regulation lays down rules for cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States of the European Union and the European Commission.
To facilitate the exchange of information and requests for enforcement, the Internal Market Information System, managed by the European Commission, has been set up. Withing the system it is possible to request information, to share information highlighting possible breaches of consumer rights, to request enforcement measures, issue warnings or coordinate the market surveillance and enforcement. Every year there is a joint activity focused on specific issues related to the online sales (the so-called SWEEP), and other joint events are also taking place. Representatives of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority participate in various meetings and workshops organised to exchange information and share experiences.