BRUSSELS / STUTTGART (26 November 2015) ̶ The EU Member State experts for consumer protection recently recommended safety requirements that will pave the way for a standardisation mandate covering candles and related products. This will be the basis for developing European Standards which will further increase the level of safety for consumers. The European candle manufacturers, represented by the European Candle Association (ECA), expressly welcome this initiative.
“What seems like another attempt of the European Commission to regulate each and every detail is, in fact, the exact opposite. For almost three years, the European Commission, Member States, experts for consumer protection, standardisation experts and candle manufacturers had been discussing the now recommended safety requirements in a very constructive dialogue. These discussions resulted in very ambitious demands with regards to consumer protection, but the demands can be met with the necessary efforts on part of the candle manufacturers” says Stefan Thomann, Managing Director of ECA and Chairman of the standardisation committee CEN/TC 369 Candle Fire Safety. He adds: “If authorities and industry were always cooperating as ideally as this was the case here, the European Commission would have a much better reputation with the citizens”.
In contrast to some media reports, this initiative does explicitly not aim at regulating the slightest detail. The future standardisation mandate will only define the cornerstones that are important from a consumer protection perspective. It will be the task of the European Standardisation Committee CEN to transpose these rather general requirements into more detailed European Standards, or more precisely, representatives of industry, testing institutes and authorities as well as experts for consumer protection will do this. Involving all relevant stakeholders in this process will make sure that these standards will work in practice.
On the initiative of the candle industry, a set of three European Standards for candles were developed years ago and have been active since 2007. They specify labelling for example and help consumers to safely use candles. Since the standards became effective, the number of fires has significantly decreased.
“A large part of the now recommended requirements is already included in the existing standards. The standardisation mandate will attach much greater importance from a legal point of view however” says Stefan Thomann. The additional requirements do make sense as well, particularly those for candle accessories, i.e. items like holders, warming stoves, lanterns, etc. which are often sold separately from candles. Many of these items have shown blatant deficiencies resulting in serious risks for consumers.
The European candle manufacturers expect that the future standards will further increase the level of consumer protection, particularly for imported goods. For this reason, and because the safety requirements were coordinated with all stakeholders, they explicitly welcome the European Commission´s initiative.
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About the European Candle Association
The European Candle Association ASBL (ECA) is the trade association representing the leading candle manufacturers in Europe. Authorities and NGOs recognise it as the leading technical authority on candle manufacturing, science and safety. For more information, visit www.eca-candle.eu.