British Hallmark still intact Nov03

I am delighted to report that the Conservatives in the European Parliament have been very successful in our campaign against the European Commission's proposal to end the compulsory hallmarking of jewellery in the UK. As a result of our intense lobbying, a top level committee of EU diplomats decided to withdraw the proposal from the agenda of the Council of Ministers.


The quality of our jewellery could have be under threat if the EU Directive was introduced. For more than 700 years, the British hallmarking system has proved to be of great value in guaranteeing quality of precious metals, like gold and silver, offering a control standard for the manufacturer and consumer.


Sadly, some European countries such as Italy, France, and Germany, do not have an independently verifiable system of hallmarking that allows their manufacturers to offer similar guarantees. Italy is Europe's largest jewellery manufacturing nation and its lack of compulsory requirement for hallmarking has contributed to an EU-wide problem of under-carating and fraudulent products.


The Italians, who currently hold the EU presidency, insisted on scrapping independent assay and hallmarking on the grounds that a non-harmonised system in Europe distorts the market. This would have introduced an inferior system of hallmarking, thereby forcing the UK to relax and even abandon its own system.


Thanks to Conservative action, this threat has now been removed.