Free movement of goods


The principle of free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the EEA-wide Internal Market. It means that in principle Member States may not restrict the free movement of goods within the EEA.

Many barriers to free movement have been lifted through the adoption of specific legislation concerning, for example:

  • vehicles 
  • pharmaceuticals 
  • medical devices 
  • construction products 
  • gas appliances e
  • lectrical equipment 
  • mechanical equipment metrology 
  • pressure equipment 
  • cosmetics 
  • footwear 
  • textiles
  • toys

More information on this sector specific legislation can be found on the European Commission's website.

An updated overview of currently applicable legislation can be found on the EFTA Secretariat's website.  

Some EEA secondary legislation provides for a detailed set of rules for a specific category of products, such as in the field of chemicals or medicinal products.

For other products, the rules identify certain essential features that the products must satisfy, for example in relation to safety, design and application. Such products may be designed and made in different ways provided they satisfy the essential features. As a rule, this type of legislation is laid down in directives, which are known as “New Approach Directives”.

New Approach Directives generally relate to industrial products of a technical nature, such as construction products, pressure equipment and weighing instruments. Since 1987, some 25 New Approach Directives have been adopted. The principle of mutual recognition is the basis for them: that means that when conformity of a product with the essential requirements is established in one EEA State, that must be recognised by all of the other EEA States.

Products that comply with the essential requirements may bear a CE-marking, which guarantees free circulation within the EEA. Producers may also demonstrate compliance with the essential requirements by other means, such as compliance with national or European standards.

More information on the New Approach/New Legislative Framework can be found here: 

Other EEA Institutions

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