Explanatory memorandum context of the proposal

Proportionality Principle

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3.3. Proportionality Principle

Regarding proportionality, the content and form of the proposed action does not exceed what is necessary to achieve the goal of ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market.

The timing provided for implementation takes account of product life cycles. The products and services included were thoroughly selected. Accessibility obligations affect only new products placed in the market after the application of the Directive and for services provided from that date on.

Common objectives and general rules are set, but the definition on how to achieve those objectives, taking into account national circumstances, is left to the discretion of Member States. Hence the accessibility requirements being only defined at functional level.

The proportionality of the obligations has been carefully considered and is reflected for example in the light conformity assessment (self-declaration) and market surveillance chosen procedures. They are based on those normally used in internal market harmonisation legislation.29 The compliance costs for manufacturers, service providers and public administrations have been assessed. The analysis concluded that the benefits of harmonisation mostly outweigh these costs.

In addition and in line with the 'think small first' principle, safeguard clauses are introduced to protect economic operators from carrying a disproportionate burden or avoiding (the costs imposed by) the fundamental alteration of their products and services. These clauses take into account inter alia the size, resources and nature of the economic operators concerned. In line with Commission policy, a full exemption for microenterprises was considered but discarded in favour of the above mentioned clauses as these will better target the actual population of economic operators for which burdens may, in individual well justified cases, potentially be disproportionate relative to benefits. The clauses in question also allow for a better control of the overall impact of these safeguards on the achievement of the objectives of the legislation.

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