Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Department of Trade and Industry to the Chairman

  I am writing to you to update you on the latest position on EM 5557/01.

  In December 2005 the European Parliament voted to accept this third Amendment of the Machinery Directive at Second Reading. The adopted text incorporated nine minor amendments to the Common Position text, detailed in the attached document CODEC 1179, that had previously been agreed by a Council of Ministers in September 2004.

  The amendments, which considered both individually and as a package, make a very marginal difference to the Common Position, are summarised below (according to the order in which they appear in the text).

    —  Amendment 22 clarifies the position on tractors in that those risks covered by the Machinery Directive will cease to apply once the same provisions are contained in a revised Tractors Directive.

    —  Amendment 20 simply reinforces the need, already established in the Common Position, for Member States to have in place proper procedures for ensuring their market surveillance activity can be carried out successfully.

    —  Amendments 2 and 8 express the formulation "and/or" in the English text in a different way so as to make it more intelligible, and thus easier, apparently, to translate into other languages. The net effect is to control the usage of markings that may appear alongside the CE marking, and that might therefore have the potential to mislead, even more firmly than previously and is welcome on that account.

    —  Amendments 4 and 5 both address the interface between the scopes of this directive and the Low Voltage directive (73/23/EEC). The former was accepted on all sides as providing a clearer expression of the excluded items whilst on the latter, although most interpretations of the term "machinery" as defined in the existing Common Position would not include "electric motors" anyway, it was accepted that there was enough potential for confusion here to justify the insertion of an explicit exclusion to that effect.

    —  Amendment 21/revised bolsters the protection of confidential information obtained by Member States in the execution of their tasks by expanding on the Common Position concept of "professional secrecy".

    —  Amendment 13 restricts the application of the essential requirement on stability of machinery to the pre-scrapping phases of its usage. This was a concession to the manufacturer's lobby although the restriction is only arguable, as the term "any other action" remains alongside the phases of usage that are explicitly included.

    —  Amendment 23 introduces the concept of audit review of technical files into the new full quality assurance module which is made available as an option for machinery covered by Annex W, ie machinery regarded as particularly hazardous.

  The new text, after translation into all Member States' languages, will be subject to jurists-linguists action. The revised text will need to be formally ratified by a Council of Ministers and then published in the Official Journal of the European Journal before coming into force 20 days later.

  Timescales are difficult to predict but it is anticipated that jurist-linguists action will be completed by Easter, ratification will be completed by early May, and publication by early June 2006.

  This would mean the Directive coming into mandatory force from December 2009/January 2010.

30 January 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Lord Sainsbury of Turville

  Thank you for your letter of 30 January 2006 providing an update on this document which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 13 February 2006.

  Members noted that the time-scale for the publication and coming-into-force of this Directive is still rather vague and so I would ask that you would keep us informed as things become clearer.

15 February 2006

Letter from Lord Sainsbury of Turville to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 15 February 2006 which stated that the "time-scale for the publication and coming-into-force of this Directive is still rather vague" and asking for further information as issues became clearer.

  I apologise for the delay in replying on the timetable on the Machinery Directive and can now update you on the latest position.

  I can confirm that the new Machinery Directive, 2006/42/EC, was published on the 9 June 2006 and entered into force on 29 June 2006. Member States have until the 29 June 2008 to transpose it into their national legislation and to apply those provisions from 29 December 2009.

31 July 2006

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