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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News article14 December 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

The Commission welcomes the provisional agreement on updating EU product liability rules for the digital age and circular economy

The Commission welcomes the provisional agreement reached today by the European Parliament and the Council to update and adapt the EU liability rules on new technologies, ensuring better protection for consumers and greater legal certainty for economic operators.

The Product Liability Directive ensures that if a person suffers damage caused by a product, they can claim compensation from the manufacturer or another person that placed the product on the Single Market.

This update of the current set of rules adapts them to digital products, like software and artificial intelligence systems. It does so by taking account of software updates and machine learning. Since products are increasingly complex, the agreement allows victims' burden of proof to be made lighter when they face excessive difficulties.

Furthermore, considering that more and more products are manufactured outside the Union, the agreement ensures that victims always have an economic operator in the EU from whom to claim compensation. This strengthens the level-playing field between EU and non-EU manufacturers.

The new rules, which remain to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, have to be transposed into Member States' national law, and are expected to come into effect in 2026.

Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “The agreement on the revised Product Liability Directive is another milestone in our efforts to organise the digital space. Following last week's  historic agreement on the EU AI Act, today we have a deal on harmonised liability rules for the use of AI and software. This will give developers legal certainty across the Single Market, and allow citizens and businesses to use these new technologies safely and confidently.”

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