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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

What the Commission is doing


EU legislation in the EEI sector is important to ensure European-wide harmonisation of a set of essential health and safety and other public interest requirements for products placed on the market.

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directives

There are two main European Directives that apply to electrical and electronic equipment, the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) and the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive.

The legal instruments in this regard are

The Commission works to ensure that they are correctly and uniformly applied by

  • Holding regular meetings with EU countries
  • Providing guidance documents
  • Requesting and assessing harmonised standards in support of legislation
  • Managing 'safeguard clause procedures'
    • Note: The decision to restrict the free movement of a CE marked product in case of substantial non-compliance usually invokes use of the safeguard clause procedure
    • For more see Blue Guide (2 MB)
  • Follow-ups on requests from stakeholders

Radio Equipment Directive (RED)

In regard to radio equipment, the Commission provides clear requirements for radio receivers. The aim is to achieve a minimum level of performance, so as to contribute to an efficient use of the radio spectrum, together with clear obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors.

The legal instrument in this regard is the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU (formerly the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive 1999/5/EC).

Go to Radio Equipment Directive page

Common guidance on the application of the Directives (LVD, EMCD and RED)

Regulation on accreditation and market surveillance

Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 on accreditation and market surveillance, which has been applicable from January 2010, foresees an enhanced coordination role for the Commission and additional Community support.

Improving the enforcement of EU legislation (market surveillance) remains a priority, in order to ensure fair competition, the protection of the health and safety of consumers and workers, and improved efficiency in the use of radio spectrum.

Industrial policy approach and competitiveness

Promoting the competitiveness of the EU electric and electronic engineering industries involves the implementation of the industrial policy approach in this sector. In particular, this relates to innovation, entrepreneurship, global and sustainable competitiveness, including an evaluation of EU competitiveness, and addressing market access by means of trade instruments.

EEI and international aspects

International activities are intended to help the industry face the challenges of globalisation. The Commission analyses the industrial policy of other countries and trade blocks and evaluates the likely economic impact on the sector.

EEI and innovation

The sector is highly innovative, especially in fields linked to information and communications technology (ITC), computing and mobile phones. Most innovation originates with the manufacturers in the sector. Appropriate follow-up is therefore needed, especially in the standardisation area. Read more on Innovation

EEI and standards

The European Commission contributes to the standardisation activities developed by the European Standardisation Organisations: the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN); the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC); and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) through specific financial means, such as grant agreements, etc.

Read more on Standards

Unregulated certificates warning

Unregulated certificates, which are often called ‘voluntary certificates’ besides other names, are often issued for some products covered by EU harmonisation legislation by certification bodies not acting in their capacity as notified bodies under EU law. These practices are misleading since only notified bodies may issue certificates of compliance for harmonised products and only in the area for which they are notified. For example, if a body is notified to issue certificates for machinery, it should not issue certificates (voluntary or other) for non-machinery products (such as personal protective equipment – masks).

Please note that, under EU law, voluntary or other additional certificates are not a recognised means to prove compliance. Consequently, they have no value in the case of checks by market surveillance authorities or customs. However, an exception arises in instances where voluntary certification is outlined in specific legislation. In such cases, while the certificate is not obligatory, it must adhere to explicit requirements if chosen to be acquired.

Voluntary certificates can create the impression that the product conforms with applicable EU harmonisation legislation, although such certificates are not issued by an authorised body.

Voluntary certificates must not be confused with third-party conformity assessment certification by notified bodies within the area for of competence for which they are notified, due to the use of terms such as ‘certification’ or ‘independent third party’ or the presence of the CE marking on the certificate.

CE marking can only be affixed after testing the product and performing the conformity assessment procedure prescribed by the applicable EU harmonisation legislation. It is not acceptable for voluntary certificates to bear a CE marking.