On 20 July, the members of the European Council agreed on a position with respect to the proposed General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR), paving the way for negotiations with the European Parliament over the text.

The Commission published its proposal for a GPSR in July last year. The GPSR would replace the current EU legislation, the General Product Safety Directive, which has been in force since 2001. As such, it would represent a major move forwards for consumer product safety legislation in the bloc.

One of the key objectives of the GPSR is to modernise the consumer product safety framework to make it appropriate for the current digital and technological landscape, in particular the emergence of online marketplaces. The latter will see their duties increase, to the extent that they need to exercise greater oversight of their traders and the products they offer.

The timetable from this point is to be confirmed, but it is expected that the Council will start negotiations with the Parliament very soon.

An increasing number of consumers buy goods and products online – a trend which was reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. To keep up with challenges linked to this trend, the GPSR proposal modernises the rules for online marketplaces and updates them for online businesses. The revised rules for general product safety aim to ensure that products of the digital age meet European safety standards.