Regulatory Barriers (TRIS)
The Single Market Transparency Directive (EU) 2015/1535 serves to prevent regulatory barriers arising in the internal market for products and information society services. EU Member States and other participating countries notify their draft rules in those fields to the Commission. This triggers a 3-month standstill period during which the Commission and the other countries assess the national draft rules in light of EU rules. If they identify a potential barrier to the single market, they can respond. Any concerns they identify can then be addressed.
The Commission, the EU Member States and the other participating countries share information on the notification procedure under the Single Market Transparency Directive using the Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS).
Technical Barriers and the Single Market – why do they matter?
Technical regulations enacted by individual Member States may result in barriers to the free movement of goods and information society services. This prevents the goods and information society services concerned from moving freely among Member States. Regulatory barriers stemming from technical regulations can thus fragment the EU Single Market.
The Single Market Transparency Directive – how does it work?
The Single Market Transparency Directive enables the Commission and EU Member States and the other participating countries to react to any potential barriers to the free movement of products and the provision of information society services. Reactions can take one of the following forms:
- The Commission, the EU Member States and the other participating countries can issue ‘comments’ to be taken into account by the country that has notified a draft rule or rules, if the notified draft needs to be adjusted.
- The Commission and EU Member States can also send the notifying Member State a ‘detailed opinion’ if a serious concern is identified. This extends the standstill period and opens a dialogue phase with the notifying country. The potential barrier identified can thus be effectively addressed.
- If an EU proposal in the same area is in the pipeline, the Commission can take a ‘blocking decision’ to postpone the adoption of the national measure.
- The Single Market Transparency Directive has been effectively implemented over some considerable time, with more than 16 201 draft notifications since 1998.
- In 2020, 877 draft technical regulations were notified to the Commission by EU Member States, EEA countries, Switzerland and Turkey. Of these, Member States withdrew 51 notifications, which did not require further follow-up.
- As regards these notifications in 2020, the Commission:
- sent 40 detailed opinions, and
- issued 132 comments.
- Member States issued 140 comments and 53 detailed opinions.
Facts and figures
In 2020, 15 countries notified less than 15 notifications each, while the remaining 18 countries notified on average 43,7 notifications each.
Number of national drafts notified to the Commission, by sector
The sectors with most notifications in 2020 were ‘construction’ and ‘agriculture, fishing and foodstuffs’, with 306 notifications out of a total of 895.
The sectors in which fewest notifications were received were:
- Energy, minerals, wood,
- Domestic and leisure equipment.
All scored less than 6 % of notifications each.
Number of reactions sent by the Commission to Member States
The number of Commission reactions to the notifications received in 2020 was broadly proportionate to the number of notifications submitted by EU Member States.
Number of reaction by Member States to draft technical regulations notified by another Member State
Most EU Member States play an active role in implementing the Single Market Transparency Directive. Notifications thus elicit reactions from other countries. In 2020, 10 Member States reacted at least 5 times to notifications, either with comments or with detailed opinions.
Number of reaction received by Member States from another Member States
The complementary impact of the Commission and the EU Member States is an asset for the functioning of the Single Market Transparency Directive. In 2020, 11 Member States received 5 or more reactions from other Member States.
Contributions received from stakeholders, by notifying Member States
A broad range of stakeholders took part in implementing the Single Market Transparency Directive in 2020, with 597 contributions. A large proportion of these related to notifications from a limited number of countries. Notifications from 7 Member States received over 15 contributions.
TRIS in a nutshell
The Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) is a public database providing information on each notification procedure, updated daily. TRIS can be accessed free of charge. It enables stakeholders to submit their comments on specific notified drafts, so their voices can be heard and taken into account. Members of the public can also subscribe, to receive alerts of drafts notified in a given sector and/or by a given Member State or another participating country.
TRIS is being used more and more:
- 1 915 719 total page views
- 7 676 187 notifications views (1 267 630 in 2020)
- 6467 mailing list subscribers
In 2020, the top 9 notifications viewed were:
Subject of notification
Number of Views
Regulation of games
Modernization of media
Cash registers in software form
Labeling of food
Waste Framework directive
Tobacco and electronic cigarettes
The majority of the most viewed notifications came from larger Member States and concerned issues of general interest to stakeholders.