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About electromagnetic compatibility in the EU context

European Union Member States have responsibility for protecting radio communications, electrical supply networks and telecommunications networks, as well as related equipment, from electromagnetic disturbance.

The EU’s aim is to support its Member States in their efforts to achieve this goal, while at the same time ensuring that this equipment can be traded freely throughout the Union.

The presence of CE marking on equipment covered by the Directive on Electromagnetic Compatibility is an indication that it meets the technical requirements in place to allow it to be sold anywhere in the European Economic Area (made up of the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) as well as in Turkey.

This also applies to products manufactured in third countries.

CE marking and the Directive on Electromagnetic Compatibility

Directive 2004/108/EC is intended to harmonise the rules governing the sale within the EU of equipment liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance or to be affected by it. The 2004 Directive updated and replaced Directive 89/336/EEC, which had previously regulated this area. The essential requirements regarding electromagnetic compatibility for equipment covered are set out in Annex I of the Directive.

The provisions relevant to CE marking cover apparatus sold as single functional units to end users, which are either liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance, or could see their performance affected by it. They do not cover apparatus that are specifically intended to be incorporated into a fixed installation and are not otherwise made commercially available.

The Directive also does not apply to radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment, as this is covered by Directive 1999/5/EC. Aeronautical products and radio equipment used by radio amateurs are also excluded from the scope of the Directive.

On the road to CE marking – conformity assessment

The conformity assessment process for equipment covered by this Directive consists of an internal production control carried out by the manufacturer. This entails checking that the equipment meets the electromagnetic compatibility requirements set out in Annex I, or that the relevant European Harmonised Standards have been correctly applied. However, the manufacturer can also choose to follow a supplementary procedure to be sure that his/her equipment is compliant with the Directive. This consists of asking the relevant notified body to assess the technical documentation accompanying the equipment and to issue a statement attesting to its compliance, to add to this technical documentation. The manufacturer is required to maintain the technical documentation related to the product for ten years after it is placed on the market. Details of these two procedures are provided in Annexes II and III of the Directive. Once the chosen conformity assessment process is complete, the manufacturer, or his authorised representative in the EU, must affix the CE marking to the equipment.

This must be done in accordance with the instructions set out in Annex V of the Directive.

Finding the relevant European Harmonised Standards

The fi rst step a manufacturer should take to ensure that equipment will be compliant with the Directive is to check which European Harmonised Standards are applicable. A list of harmonised standards for electromagnetic compatibility can be found on the relevant page of the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry website.

Need more information?

The European Commission has launched a one-stop-shop web portal with all the information you need on CE marking:

The EMC Directive 2004/108/EC applies to a vast range of equipment encompassing electrical and electronic appliances, systems and installations.