A product, service or process can comply with a standard or/and one or many New Approach Directive(s). This conformance is shown by a certificate of conformity and performed by a conformity assessment process. Conformity with a standard or a New Approach Directive may need third party certification by a test laboratory, often called a Notified Body. They are listed in the following websites: NANDO IS (for all New Approach sectors but construction) and NANDO CPD (for construction products).
Compliance with a standard is always done on voluntary basis. When a product falls under the scope of one or many New Approach Directive(s), it has to comply with the requirements of the relevant directive(s) in order to be CE marked and be placed on the EU market. CE marking is demonstrated via a declaration of conformity. Conformity with CE marking means conformity to the European Directive and not to the European Standards. But to be sure the product complies with the Directive; it is easier if it is made according to the harmonized standards referring to the Directive.
In order to promote trade in goods between EU and candidate countries and EU and third countries by facilitating market access, Protocols to the Europe Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (PECAs) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) have been negotiated respectively. They are bilateral agreements, and aim to benefit industry by providing easier access to conformity assessment procedures.
1. Which products need to be CE marked?
Only products falling under the scope of the New Approach Directives have to be CE marked.
2. Is there any harmonised standard supporting the CE marking?
3. Where can I find a notified body to perform a conformity assessment?
4. Is there a European Commission mandate on a certain product?
The following link gives access to a database of mandates, together with the access to their full text.
One important area where standardisation makes a decisive contribution to enforcement and control is that of certification. Certification is understood to mean that a neutral and independent body confirms the conformity of products to certain standards. The practical significance of certification is especially great in the areas of trade where standardisation plays a crucial role (electrical engineering). In the context of legal harmonization, the issuing of a certificate of conformity serves as proof that the product meets specific laws or other technical specifications and criteria.
All conformity assessment activities are aimed at testing or proving that the product, process or service concerned complies with the essential legal requirements. The Global Approach was specified by the modular approach for the assessment of conformity with the new approach Directives. There are independent, indivisible and complementary modules. The modules are designated by the letters A to H. A conformity assessment procedure in the framework of the new approach Directives is necessary for the public authorities to ensure that products placed on the EU market conform to the essential requirements of the Directive(s) concerned. As the EU favours a free-market economy a broad choice between the modules must be left to the manufacturer. The Community legislator can choose between the different modules described. The complexity and stringency of the modules to be applied varies according to the risks associated with the product. When the valid directives not prescribe a procedure, the manufacture is then at liberty to choose the conformity assessment procedure himself. The most widely used is Module A.
If the CE-marking is affixed on a product, this product is authorised to be placed freely on the market of the European Union. It is affixed on the product concerned itself or on the packaging by the manufacturer or his authorised agent. It does not have any fixed colour. If several Directives providing for the CE-marking apply to one and the same product, the application of the CE-marking indicates conformity with all applicable Directives. The CE-marking does not prohibit the application of other marks provided such marks are causing confusion with the CE-marking. The affixing of other markings intended to confuse third parties as to the meaning and form of the CE-marking must be prohibited.
14 steps to CE marking
- Product Definition
- Supplier Control.
- Selection of relevant directives and standards.
- Selection of a possible conformity assessment procedure.
- Establishing contact with Notified Body.
- Performance of the hazard analysis/risk assessment.
- Verification that the demands from the Directives have been observed.
- Provision of Information.
- Preparation of technical documentation.
- Examination and revision of the instruction handbook.
- Drawing up the declaration of conformity.
- CE marking.
- Market access.
- Series testing.
By means of a declaration of conformity, the manufacturer must demonstrate that his product complies with the essential health and safety requirements of the relevant EC directives. Prior to this the product may not be sold on the European internal market. The declaration of conformity is:
- a procedure in which the manufacturer or his authorized representative established in the Community declares that the product placed on the market complies with all the relevant safety requirements of the appropriated directive.
- a form that is to be supplied with every product and must be drawn up in the user's language.
CE marking is the declaration of conformity external proof, as the car insurance attestation shows the vehicle is insured although it is not the insurance contract
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