The German Institute for Normalisation (DIN) in 2011 introduced a “pre‐standard” for synthetic turf, DIN SPEC 18035‐7. The DIN SPEC differed significantly from the existing European standard, in force since 2005. The DIN SPEC has operated as a de facto standard in Germany, impeding trade into Germany of these products.
After contacts with DIN proved fruitless, in September 2012 ESTO lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission, on the basis that the DIN SPEC violated European Union law by, first, restricting the free movement of goods and, second, violating EU standards rules by introducing a national standard in contradiction with existing EU standards.
As a result of that complaint the Commission initiated an investigation. Following that investigation, the German Government has informed the Commission that the DIN SPEC will be immediately withdrawn. In addition, German public authorities will be informed of the consequences of such withdrawal, the DIN SPEC cannot be a requirement in public procurement procedures, and the DIN SPEC will not be replaced with any equivalent standard. DIN has this month announced the withdrawal of the DIN SPEC.
ESTO is very satisfied with the outcome of the Commission’s timely action, which safeguards free trade in synthetic turf products to the benefit of German users and consumers.
ESTO Executive Chairman, Nigel Fletcher commented: “The outcome of the Commission’s investigation is very important, ensuring that communities and municipalities throughout Germany can now make informed and correct decisions on purchasing synthetic turf systems. Furthermore, it demonstrates the positive role that ESTO can play in achieving outcomes beneficial for the synthetic turf industry, users and consumers”.