• English

First quarterly Newsletter: Metrology

Legal Acts in the EU in the area of technical harmonization: adopted or proposed during the last quarter





Proposal for a
71/317/EEC, 71/347/EEC, 71/349/EEC, 74/148/EEC, 75/33/EEC,
76/765/EEC, 76/766/EEC, and 86/217/EEC
regarding metrology



The description of the agenda:
The proposal concerns the following 8 “old approach” metrology Directives:

  • Directive 75/33/EEC on Cold Water Meters for Non-Clean Water;
  • Directives 76/765/EEC and 76/766/EEC on Alcohol Meters and Alcohol Tables;
  • Directives 71/317/EEC and 74/148/EEC on Medium and Above-Medium Accuracy Weights respectively;
  • Directive 86/217/EEC on Tyre Pressure Gauges for Motor Vehicles;
  • Directive 71/347/EEC on Standard Mass of Grain;
  • Directive 71/349/EEC on Calibration of Ship Tanks.

These Directives are of the so-called optional type, with the exception of Directive 76/766/EEC on alcohol tables which provides for a total harmonisation. The instruments described in each directive must be accepted by Member States and this was useful in the 1970s when there were trade barriers due to differing Member State regulation. In addition to applying the Directives, Member States were allowed to have national laws containing technical specifications different from the Directives. These national laws have often been further developed to keep pace with technological progress and are based on international or European standards and contain mutual recognition clauses giving the requirement that instruments with similar level of performance are accepted as well. It should also be noted that both international and European standards are voluntary and do not require national law or harmonised directives in order to be applied by manufacturers and will often be the most used technical specification if there is no regulation.

Aims and benefits:
The repeal of the 8 metrology Directives would be in line with the Commission’s approach to simplify the acquis of European law by repealing obsolete legislative acts, which have little or no practical impact and therefore have become irrelevant. It would also be fully in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
Simplification and better regulation It is proposed for the reasons set out above, to repeal the 8 directives. Whilst the options, repeal or re-regulation, are both possible outcomes of the simplification objective and both will fully achieve the objective of simplification, the option of repeal will entail less overhead at the European level and reduce the quantity of European legislation, whilst maintaining fully the internal market.

Difficulties and disputed points:
The Member states refused European Commission proposal.
Acceptable would be to add the repealed Directives to the MID Annexes or repeal only some of the 8 Directives.
But the Member states weren’t in the agreement which of these 8 Directives repeal.
After the Working party at the Attachés level and Working party for Better regulation there still not be the agreement.
The Member states have no thought that is necessary to repeal these Directives before the revision of Directive 2004/22/EC on measuring instruments.
Moreover the European Parliament didn’t want to deal with this proposal because of the end of the electoral term.
The SE PRES didn’t want to deal with this proposal too.

Time sequence:

3. 12. 2008

Adoption by Commission

3. 12. 2008

Transmission to Council and to EP

2. 2. 2009

First Working Party (WP) during the CZ PRES

2. 2., 20. 2., 27. 2. 2009 Attachés

WP during the CZ PRES


WP during the ES PRES

16. 12. 2009

Committee Permanent Representatives

25. – 27.3. 2010

IMCO Committee

Possible April 2010

EP opinion 1st reading


WP Jurists/Linguists


Approval – Council


Signature by EP and Council


Published in OJ EU

Entry into force:
This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Related documents:
Official Journal of the European Union

European Parliament – The Legislative Observatory

PreLex – Monitoring of the decision-making process between institutions

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee

Connection with UNECE Regulations:
This proposal is covered by the Agreement on the European Economic Area.