In mid-September 2022, trilogue negotiations are expected to begin for the EU's proposal to replace the General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC) with a new regulation on general product safety (GPSR).

This follows the European Parliament and the European Council each having adopted their mandates in order to enter into trilogue negotiations, on 4 July 2022 and 20 July 2022 respectively.

The GPSR seeks to transform the existing product safety regime, which establishes a consumer safety framework aimed at products that are not regulated by product-specific EU legislation. Whilst the GPSR predominantly seeks to address challenges arising from modern technological products and digital marketplaces, a number of broad-sweeping reforms are included:

  • Technological products: imposing additional safety requirements, including by assessing cybersecurity, learning and predictive functionalities of products;
  • Digital marketplaces: requiring operators to establish a point of contact for authorities and to cooperate with authorities to take action against dangerous products;
  • Product recall: expanding the obligation for economic operators to inform all identified consumers about a recall, and further regulating the language of recall notices;
  • Consumer remedies: establishing a right to repair, replacement or refund in the event of a recall; and
  • Penalties: updating the maximum fine for infringements to at least 4% of a company's annual turnover in the applicable member state.

The negotiating mandates of the European Parliament and European Council include the following deviations from the initial wording of the GPSR:

  • European Parliament: the mandate adopts the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection's Report as the basis for negotiations, which suggests product safety assessments should take account of health risks based on age and gender; and
  • European Council: the mandate provides that consumers should be able to choose between at least two remedies in the event of a product recall, and suggests giving Member States more flexibility for determining penalties for infringements.

Once trilogue negotiations have finalised and an agreement between the institutions has been reached, the European Parliament and European Council will vote to formally adopt the proposal.

The proposed regulation would replace the current General Product Safety Directive. It seeks to address the product safety challenges of emerging technologies, including use of artificial intelligence (AI) and connected devices, and to establish clear obligations for online marketplaces, which consumers increasingly use for their online purchases.

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