Concern for the safety of products has long been a concern of the Community. The first two of the Community consumer protection and information programmes 1 and the Commission’s internal communication to the Council in 1986 on A New Impetus for Consumer Protection Policy emphasised the importance of product safety. By 1990, when the Commission published its first three year action plan, 2 the direction on Community consumer policy was clear. Priority areas would be covered by vertical directives, which since 1985 were drafted in accordance with the new approach to technical harmonisation. This would be complemented by national authorities having general powers to ensure only safe consumer products are placed on the market and to ensure the withdrawal of any unsafe products. The Community would have exceptional powers to act in emergencies, but otherwise would act as a co–ordinating point to enhance communication and co–operation between national authorities especially in emergency situations. It would also have a role collecting data on home and leisure accidents.