Technical Documents
European Directives

The European Union introduced a series of measures to simplify the movement of goods throughout the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Some of these measures are known as New Approach Directives. New Approach Directives provide controls on product design and above all, seek to harmonize product safety requirements across Europe. Throughout Europe, where a New Approach Directive is in force, it is necessary for the manufacturer to CE mark their product.

Such a new approach is based on a few key principles:

- There is a clear separation between the European Economic Community (EEC) legislation and European standardization. EEC legislative harmonization is limited to the safety requirements of general interest needed to ensure the free movement of products throughout the Community.
- The task of drawing up the corresponding technical specifications is entrusted to the standardization bodies, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.
- Products manufactured in conformity with harmonized standards are presumed to be conformant to the basic safety requirements.
- Standards must offer a guarantee of quality with regard to the basic safety requirements of the directives.
- Standards are not mandatory, they remain voluntary. Alternate paths are possible but the producer has an obligation to prove his products are conformant to the basic safety requirements.
- Public authorities of every Member State are still responsible for the protection requirements on their territory. Safety clauses require the Member States to take all appropriate measures to withdraw unsafe products from the market.