The CE mark, or formerly EC mark, is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1985. The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that are manufactured in, or designed to be sold in, the EEA. This makes the CE marking recognizable worldwide even to people who are not familiar with the European Economic Area. It is in that sense similar to the FCC Declaration of Conformity used on certain electronic devices sold in the United States. It consists of the CE logo and, if applicable, the four digit identification number of the notified body involved in the conformity assessment procedure.
The CE marking is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable EC directives. The actual words signified by “CE” have been disputed. It is often taken to be an abbreviation of Conformité Européenne, meaning “European Conformity”. However, “CE” originally stood for “Communauté Européenne”, French for “European Community”. In former German legislation, the CE marking was called “EG-Zeichen” meaning “European Community mark”. The CE marking is a symbol of free marketability in the European Economic Area (Internal Market)
General Principles of The CE Marking
- The CE marking shall be affixed only by the manufacturer or his authorised representative.
- The CE marking shall be affixed only to products to which its affixing is provided for by specific Community harmonisation legislation, and shall not be affixed to any other product.
- By affixing or having affixed the CE marking, the manufacturer indicates that he takes responsibility for the conformity of the product with all applicable requirements set out in the relevant Community harmonisation legislation providing for its affixing.
- The CE marking shall be the only marking which attests the conformity of the product with the applicable requirements of the relevant Community harmonisation 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.