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    The free movement of goods and services is one of the main objectives of the European Union. National technical regulations must be formulated in such a way that they do not create technical barriers to trade. To ensure this, a notification procedure has been established in accordance with Directive (EU) 2015/1535. EU countries must notify the Commission of any draft technical regulation before it is adopted. From the date of notification, a standstill period of three months (or one month depending on the subject under consideration) is established during which the EU country has to refrain from adopting the technical regulation concerned. This procedure allows the European Commission and the Member States to examine the draft technical regulation of a given Member State.

    For Belgium, the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy centralises notifications via the Belnotif unit of the Belspoc central unit (belspoc@economie.fgov.be).

    What is meant by a technical regulation?

    A technical regulation is a draft technical specification or other requirement or rule on services, the observance of which is compulsory, de jure or de facto, in the case of marketing, provision of a service, establishment of a service operator or use in a Member State or a major part thereof.

    In addition, there are legal and administrative provisions of the Member States (with the exception of the provisions of Article 7 of Directive (EU) 2015/1535) prohibiting the manufacture, importation, marketing or use of a product or prohibiting the provision or use of a service, or establishment as a service provider.

    Directive (EU) 2015/1535 defines 'a product' as any industrially manufactured product and any agricultural product, including fish products.

    A 'technical specification' describes the characteristics of a product, i.e:

    • quality level, performance, safety or dimensions;
    • requirements relating to the name under which the product is sold, terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking or labelling;
    • conformity assessment procedures.

    The Directive also defines the concept of 'other requirement', which means a requirement imposed on a product for the purpose of protecting, in particular, consumers or the environment, and which affects its life cycle after it has been placed on the market, such as conditions of use, recycling, reuse or disposal, where such conditions can significantly influence the composition or nature of the product or its marketing.

    Notification of a draft technical regulation

    In order to remove possible obstacles to the free movement of goods and services, each authority must submit a draft technical regulation to the European Commission and the other Member States.

    The notification must be made by completing the notification message (PDF, 591.31 KB) in full and submitting it together with the draft text (1 language per document). The notifying authority must use this form to confirm the completeness and accuracy of the texts provided.

    Please refer to the detailed instructions for the notification of draft technical regulations (PDF, 258.49 KB).  

    For Belgium, the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy centralises notifications via the Belnotif unit of the Belspoc central unit (belspoc@economie.fgov.be).

    The Belnotif unit submits the notification via the TRIS (Technical Regulation Information System) database of the European Commission. The relevant information from the notifications is publicly available.

    Examination of the drafts

    The Commission and the other Member States have three months (or one month, depending on the subject under discussion) to analyse the drafts and to respond. During this period, referred to as the 'standstill period', these drafts may not be amended, adopted or published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

    Responses

    The Commission and the Member States can formulate three types of response:

    • a request for additional information which does not extend the 'standstill period';
    • a comment, to which the author of the draft must respond to the extent possible;
    • a detailed opinion, which the author of the draft is obliged to take into account and which automatically extends the standstill period by three months.

    If there is a response to a Belgian notification, the notifying authority is informed. If the notifying authority responds to this, this must be done by means of the 'type response message (PDF, 455.36 KB)', which must be sent to the Belnotif unit.

    The Belgian notifying authority must, where appropriate, take account of the detailed opinions, either by withdrawing the text or by adapting or justifying its provisions.

    At the end of the standstill period, the notifying authority may publish its text in the Belgian Official Gazette and must send it to the Belnotif unit (belspoc@economie.fgov.be).

    If a Belgian authority wants to respond to a foreign notification, it can do so by sending the 'type response message (PDF, 455.36 KB)' to the Belnotif unit.

    Please refer to the detailed instructions (PDF, 204.26 KB).

    Federations, companies and individuals may submit their comments, observations and views under the 'Contributions' section of the TRIS public website.

    Last update
    12 October 2020