(49) Such a possible improvement in four years of implementation of the agreement is remarkable compared to past improvements. If, in the absence of an agreement, energy efficiency were to improve between 1978 and 1994, achieving a 20% improvement would take eight years instead of four. In addition to faster and safer outcomes, there is no evidence that behavioural changes can neb the improvement in efficiency ratio (8). (46) The agreement should therefore have a significant effect on competition and trade between Member States within the meaning of Article 81, paragraph 1, the EC Treaty and Article 53, paragraph 1, of the EEA agreement. (1) The European Council for the Construction of Domestic Devices (CECED) is an association under Belgian law established in Brussels since 1959. It includes manufacturers of appliances and national professional organizations. Although it is itself involved in the agreement it has notified on behalf of the other parties as itself, CECED is responsible for several tasks related to its implementation. (26) CECED is a business association. The members of the agreement are manufacturers or importers of household appliances or associations of these manufacturers or importers. (28) The agreement provides for a commitment that the parties will do their best to help achieve a sectoral objective.
This objective is largely achieved by meeting the specific obligation to meet a minimum level of efficiency. This general obligation is not accompanied by information provided in the notification, allocation of quotas or the determination of the individual contribution of each manufacturer or importer to the achievement of the common objective. (64) Major distributors agree that other factors, such as price, branding and technical performance, may have more weight than energy efficiency in purchasing decisions. In the meantime, producers will retain three energy categories ranging from A to C and part of D once the agreement has been fully implemented. (61) However, such a system would face difficulties that would jeopardize the achievement of the desired results. In the specific context of the market, buyers with bargaining power could concentrate their orders on Category C machines. Only a joint agreement with merchants and retailers would help to resolve this problem.