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Second quarterly Newsletter: Metrology

Legal Acts in the EU in the area of technical harmonization: adopted or proposed during the second quarter of 2010





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



-  ongoing discussions
-  Celex No.:52008PC0801

The text is available on the following websites:

Link URL

The main goals of the proposal:
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.

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, disputed points, state of play:
Member states (“MS”) did not welcome European Commission's proposal with enthusiasm. Only 8 of them supported the EC's choice to repeal all 8 Directives without any subsequent actions and even among those 8 MS there were voices saying that including the measuring instruments covered by the “old approach” Directives under MID (Directive 2004/22/EC on measuring instruments) would be acceptable for them as well.

Some MS agreed to repeal some of the 8 “old approach” Directives and update and include the remaining Directives under MID but the qualified majority of MS supporting repealing the same Directives could not be found.

Some delegations expressed concerns about the legal situation in each and every MS after “only” repealing the Directives, they feared the possible emergence of barriers to trade once the Directives are repealed and MS adopt their own national measures. From their point of view harmonization via MID would be a better ensurance of free movement of measuring instrument than via the principle of mutual recognition. They also warned that the repealing would deprive the manufacturers of the possibility to profit from a harmonised European marking.

At COREPER level on 21 April 2010 was by qualified majority supported a compromise text of the proposal based on the repealing only some of the 8 Directives and including the remaining under MID; postponing the date of repealing when the revision of MID is supposed to be completed and it is obvious whether there is a real need to include the relevant measuring instruments under MID.

On the date, the informal discussions with the European Parliament are under way in order to reach the agreement in the 1st reading. The most discussed matter is the obligation to draw up the correlation tables, which is a key item for the EP. After that the Council opinion will be delivered via official letter. Therefore the date of the first reading in the EP was postponed until July 2010.

Time sequence:

3. 12. 2008

Adoption by Commission

3. 12. 2008

Transmission to Council and to EP

2 Working party session + 1Attachés meeting


1 Working party session + 2 CRP meetings


Possible July 2010

EP plenary session-1st reading


WP Jurists/Linguists


Approval – Council


Signature by EP and Council


Publishing 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:
European Parliament – The Legislative Observatory

PreLex – Monitoring of the decision-making process between institutions

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee