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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(1997)2001 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1998)700 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999)505 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000)705 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001)700 final - SEC(2001)1748 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002)700 final - SEC(2002)1404 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1205 - Not published in the Official Journal] Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its Opinion of July 1997 the Commission considered that significant progress had been made. It noted that Hungary was progressively taking on the Community acquis related to the free movement of goods and that it had already transposed the most important directives. However, the Commission considered that further work was needed in the area of standards and certification.

The November 1998 Report noted some progress in this area but called for institutional capacity to be strengthened in order to ensure the proper implementation of legislation, especially in the field of standardisation.

The October 1999 Report once again noted some progress in the field of standardisation but called for extra effort to enable Hungary to become a full member of European standards bodies.

In its November 2000 Report, the Commission noted that Hungary had made steady progress in the area of free movement of goods and the customs union.

The November 2001 Report noted steady progress.

In its October 2002 Report, the Commission noted further steady progress concerning the acquis on the free movement of goods and the customs union.

The November 2003 Report notes that Hungary is meeting most of the requirements, but needs to make further efforts in certain areas.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


Free movement of goods can only be achieved by removing measures which restrict trade - not only customs duties and quantitative restrictions but all measures with equivalent, i.e. protectionist, effect.

Where technical standards are not harmonised, the principle of mutual recognition of national rules applies (in line with the Cassis de Dijon judgment).

For the purpose of harmonisation, the European Community has developed the " New Approach ". Instead of imposing technical solutions, European Community legislation is limited to establishing the essential requirements which products must meet.


In the field of standardisation, the transposition of the Community acquis into Hungarian law is progressing slowly. Hungary must accelerate the transposition of standards in this area to reach the rate of 80% necessary to become a full member of European standards bodies. In 1999 Hungary adopted detailed standards for designating conformity assessment bodies, thereby applying ordinary rules in this field. In September 2000, the Hungarian Institute for Standardisation had implemented 76.6% of all European standards and 79.7% of harmonised European standards within the framework of the New Approach.

The main principles of the New Approach and the Global Approach have already been introduced into national law, particular attention having been paid to the practical application of the legislation. The 2000 report noted that the country was establishing the structure required for regulation, standardisation, accreditation and certification. The 2003 Report notes that the principle of mutual recognition has not yet been introduced into Hungarian legislation. This issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Progress has been made in sectors covered by the New Approach directives in transposing directives on toys, machine, lifts, pressure vessels, non-automatic weighing machines and gas appliances. In 1999 rules on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations were adopted. The 2001 report called for further efforts in relation to construction products, lifts and explosives for civil use. The 2003 notes that the transposition of the acquis in this field has been completed.

Hungary is continuing its harmonisation efforts in the areas under the Old Approach directives, such as foodstuffs, electromagnetic compatibility, pre-packaging, recreational craft and construction materials. Regarding pharmaceutical products, the law on medicinal products for human use has brought about the convergence of Hungarian and Community legislation. Problems remain for motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, legal metrology, wood and crystal. Further efforts must be made in these sectors to align Hungarian legislation with the Community acquis. These standards were transposed in 2002. The entry into force of the amendments to the law on foodstuffs was a particularly significant advance. The 2003 Report notes that the legislation on food safety has only been partially aligned with the acquis and calls for further efforts to be made.

Equally, Hungary must make more effort to transpose the directive on the general safety of products and set up the necessary enforcement structures (see Consumers). The 2003 Report notes that transposition of the acquis on product safety still needs to be completed.

The legislation on cultural goods was adopted in November 2001. Transposition of the acquis in the field of firearms is not yet complete however.

In the area of public procurement, no new legislative advances were made in the period covered by the 2000 and 2001 reports. In July 2002, Hungary adopted provisions amending the public procurement rules relating to motorway construction, an issue that had posed a problem for a long time. In 2003, the Commission reports that the transposition of the acquis was still incomplete due to the decision of the Hungarian authorities to draft entirely new framework legislation.

Negotiations on the chapter on the free movement of goods were closed in December 2002. Hungary has not requested any transitional arrangements in this area.

As regards the chapter on customs union, the 2000 report noted substantial progress. Hungary has to a large extent transposed the provisions of the Community Customs Code. In 2001, it transposed the regulations on cultural goods and the new provisions on common transit, and on the TIR Convention on international transport of goods under cover of TIR carnets. In general, Hungary is making good progress in this area. The 2003 Report notes that Hungary needs to make some adjustments to ensure compliance with EC provisions on customs duty reliefs and free zones.

Negotiations on the customs union chapter were closed in December 2002. A transitional period has been granted for compliance with the Common External Tariff as regards the opening of a yearly tariff quota for unalloyed aluminium which will expire at the end of the third year following the date of accession or on 31 December 2007.

Last updated: 16.02.2004