The Länder are responsible for implementing federal legislation, in accordance with Article 83 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz). The legal basis for market surveillance carried out by the Länder is Regulation (EC) Number 765/2008, which has been in force since 1 January 2010 and sets out the legal framework for monitoring the safety of products in the EU. On the basis of this regulation, the individual EU member states and the European Commission organise the system of market and product surveillance. The system’s guiding principle is to ensure free market access for products in the EU, but, at the same time, to ensure that these products do not endanger health, safety, or the environment.
Since the adoption of the EU’s harmonised waste management provisions, market surveillance of products has included the monitoring of vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, and accumulators as well as packaging and packaging waste. The purpose of surveillance is to ensure compliance with requirement for placing a product on the market (for example prohibited substances, limit values on certain substances, mandatory labelling).
In Germany, the Länder are each managing their own market surveillance systems that take into account regional circumstances such as, for example, economic structure and predominant industry sectors. The supreme Land authorities responsible for waste management and waste management law are acting together in order to ensure as uniform an implementation of waste management law as possible in Germany. The levels of government have joined together in the Federation/Länder Working Group on Waste (LAGA) for this purpose. LAGA promotes exchange of information and practical experience between the federal and Länder governments, and also maintains contacts with associations and other stakeholders. Moreover, the working group develops proposals and provides suggestions for the further development of statutory provisions and for positions Germany presents in international bodies. LAGA also produces leaflets, guidelines, informational materials and model administrative provisions for the legal enforcement of waste management law.
Surveillance authorities employ two types of market surveillance: active and reactive market surveillance. Active market surveillance means that the authorities take action on their own accord; in reactive market surveillance, the authorities take action in response to specific instances that raise concern (for example, complaints, notifications, requests for administrative or executive assistance).
In order to ensure efficient exchange of information among authorities in Germany and the EU, an online platform (Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance, ICSMS) has been established. This platform helps market surveillance authorities exchange information, but also serves purposes of consumer information. It offers the public information about exceeded limit values and non-conformity with substance prohibitions. In addition, consumers can use the platform’s search tool to research the German authorities responsible for market surveillance based on product type and location.