The CE marking (an acronym for the French “Conformite Europeenne”) certifies that a product has met EU health, safety, and environmental requirements, which ensure consumer safety. Manufacturers in the European Union (EU) and abroad must meet CE marking requirements where applicable in order to market their products in Europe. For a list of countries that require the CE marking, see: CE Marking Countries. A manufacturer who has gone through the conformity assessment process, may affix the CE marking to the product. With the CE marking, the product may be marketed throughout the EU. CE marking now provides product access to 32 countries with a population of nearly 500 million.
Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of the products that require a CE marking. Therefore, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to determine if a product requires a CE marking. The “New Approach Directives” are documents that contain the legislation issued by the European Commission on the requirements that need to be met and procedures that must be followed in order for a particular product to be CE marked for sales in the EU.
In order to determine if your product needs a CE marking, you should look in each directive that you judge as related to your product. Our Guide to navigating the CE marking process is organized by directives: CE Marking Guide. Under each directive, we explain the route to CE marking certification step-by-step and in one place.
Some products require conformance to more than one directive. For example, the Safety of Machinery directive, the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) directive, and the Low Voltage Equipment directive may all apply to one product.
Principles of the CE Marking
- Only the manufacturer or his authorized representative shall affix the CE marking.
- The CE marking shall be affixed only to products to which its affixing is provided for by specific Community harmonization legislation, and shall not be affixed to any other product.
- The CE marking shall be the only marking which attests the conformity of the product with the applicable requirements of the relevant Community harmonization legislation providing for its affixing.
- The affixing to a product of markings, signs or inscriptions which are likely to mislead third parties regarding the meaning or form of the CE marking shall be prohibited. Any other marking may be affixed to the product provided that the visibility, legibility and meaning of the CE marking is not thereby impaired.
- Member States shall ensure the correct implementation of the regime governing the CE marking and take appropriate action in the event of improper use of the marking. Member States shall also provide for penalties for infringements, which may include criminal sanctions for serious infringements. Those penalties shall be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and constitute an effective deterrent against improper use.
Benefits of CE Marking Certification
There are a significant number of advantages of CE marking for the manufacturer and for the consumer. In particular:
- CE marking provides manufacturers with market access to the whole European Economic Area, since countries within this area may not restrict the placing on the market of products bearing the CE marking.
- It guarantees that the product conforms to the regulations in the specific directive(s)
- It is a guarantee for the manufacturer that the product is safe for consumers
- It may significantly reduce damage claims and liability premiums.