Two years ago we reported on the revision of the EU law on the mutual recognition procedure and the free movement of goods lawfully marketed in one EU Member State (see SCC News of 28 May 2018). The new Regulation 2019/515 of 19 March 2019 on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 now applies since 19.04.2020. In case of fertiliser and biostimulant registrations, first feedback from national authorities already indicate, that the new rules are implemented on national level, at least in certain Member States.

The aim of Regulation 2019/515, based on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, “is to strengthen the functioning of the internal market by improving the application of the principle of mutual recognition and by removing unjustified barriers to trade”. It highlights that “administrative decisions restricting or denying market access for goods that are already lawfully marketed in another Member State should be exceptions to the fundamental principle of the free movement of goods”. In case of a breach of rights SOLVIT was established as a “service provided by the national administration in each Member State that aims to find solutions for individuals and businesses when their rights have been breached by public authorities in another Member State” (for more information on SOLVIT please refer to Commission Recommendation 2013/461/EU).

Article 4 of Regulation 2019/515 on the Mutual Recognition Declaration defines that “the producer of goods, or of goods of a given type, that are being made or are to be made available on the market in the Member State of destination may draw up a voluntary declaration of lawful marketing of goods for the purposes of mutual recognition (‘mutual recognition declaration’) in order to demonstrate to the competent authorities of the Member State of destination that the goods, or the goods of that type, are lawfully marketed in another Member State. The producer may mandate its authorised representative to draw up the mutual recognition declaration on its behalf”.

Very recent experience has shown that based on this article, and in conjunction with Article 5 on the assessment of goods, national fertiliser authorities now may refuse to issue Certificates of Conformity for fertiliser products, requesting producers or their authorised representative to draw up mutual recognition declarations themselves, keep them up to date at all times and make it available to the competent authority of the Member State of destination for the purposes of an assessment.

Future implementation of Regulation 2019/515 may ease the free movement of fertiliser/biostimulant products considerable but may also require additional administrative efforts for producers and/or their authorised representatives. It remains to be seen how national authorities will handle the terms and possibilities given by the new Regulation and adapt their national laws. Careful consideration of the implications of the Regulation will be necessary if the mutual recognition principle is used to bring fertiliser/biostimulant products onto the national markets of EU Member States.

Dr Lars Huber, Head of Biorationals, Fertilisers, IPM