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On this page you can find links to summaries of most of the principle European Directives and Regulations.

Conformance has specialist knowledge, experience and expertise in a number of directives and regulations as indicated. The Other Directive pages are a summary of the requirements and have been created to provide you with relevant information and useful links.

What Are Directives?

The CE marking Directives are documents published by the European Commission that lay out the protection requirements (design safety) and the administrative requirements for products intended to be manufactured or imported into the EU. There are many Directives, covering a large range of products, but they all essentially contain these two distinct sets of requirements. However, the directives do not state how the requirements are to be specifically and quantifiably achieved. Each individual EU member state must implement the directives into their own national laws. However, the directives do not state how the requirements are to be specifically and quantifiably achieved. This is the role of the standards.

Various multinational committees meet to produce and update standards relating the safety, marking, design etc of products within their fields. These standards are implemented at national, European or international level and some are ultimately adopted by the European Commission to interpret the essential requirements of the Directives. When a standard has been 'harmonised' by the European Commission (by publication in the Official Journal of the EU), it can be adopted by manufacturers and importers as a 'yardstick' to use for product compliance. In this situation, a product which complies with the relevant standards for a given Directive can be presumed to comply with the essential requirements of that Directive.

For a full list of the CE marking (and some non-CE marking) Directives, see our detailed directives pages.

For more information about standards, see our detailed Standards for Product Safety.

Many of our customers find this flowchart useful as a starting point to identify the safety directives applicable to their product.

The New Legislative Framework (NLF) for Directives and Regulations

On March 29, 2014, the European Commission published the recasts of eight CE marking directives. These directives have new reference numbers and are aligned with the rules and responsibilities for CE marking that were published earlier in the NLF's defining document Decision 768/2008/EU. These Directives came into force on 20th of April 2016 as part of a ongoing alignment of all the CE marking directives.

The intention of this New Legislative Framework (NLF) is to:

  • provide better overall coherence and consistency across the range of directives and regulations
  • improve market surveillance rules to provide better protection for consumers and professionals from unsafe goods
  • clarify the notification process
  • improve the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies and the conformity assessment procedures (modules)
  • clarify the meaning of the CE mark and enhance its credibility
  • clarify the obligations of importers and distributors where the manufacturer of the CE marked product is based outside Europe


The introduction of the ‘New Approach‘ framework to European directives in the 1980s was intended to restrict the content of the directives to essential requirements and for harmonised standards to provide the technical details. To improve the acceptability of these directives across the EU, the European Council adopted a resolution for a 'Global Approach' which laid down general guidelines and procedures for conformity assessment. To further improve the internal market for goods and strengthen the conditions for placing a wide range of products on the EU Market, a further review of the Global Approach resulted in a package of measures known as the 'New Legislative Framework'. This was adopted in July 2008 and came into force in January 2010.

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