Press release from AUDACE:
From the press conference held :
3rd November 1998 at 15h00
FOUQUETs Salon ROGER NIMIER
Avenue des Champs Elysées Paris
Under article 169 of the EC Treaty, if the Commission considers that a Member State has failed to comply with one of its obligations under the Treaty, it issues a reasoned opinion to this effect, after having given the State concerned an opportunity to submit its observations.
If the State does not comply with this opinion within the period of time set by the Commission, the Commission can bring the matter before the Court of Justice.
After a year investigating the complaint submitted by the President of AUDACE to DG XV, the Commission notified the French Republic and gave notice to comply before 31/08/1998.
In this letter, the Commission criticises France for not having set up a simplified procedure for obtaining registration, adapted to the products resulting from parallel imports and for making registration approval conditional on either consent from the manufacturers or proof of absolute identity between imported products and products of reference, with the burden of proof falling on the importer.
Plainly, the Commission considers that the French legislation relating to the parallel importation of plant protection products and the practice followed by the relevant administration in the application of this legislation are contrary to articles 30 to 36 of the Treaty EC as consistently interpreted by the Court of Justice.
France had until the 31/10/1998 to reply to the letter of formal warning.