International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

New approach Directives

More than twenty years ago, the New Approach enabled the different European Standards Organizations (ESOs) to take part in the legislative make-up. Indeed, the ESOs, together with the European Commission and EFTA, have been involved in a successful partnership providing one of the key elements necessary to complete the Single Market.

The European Union directives, known as the "New Approach Directives", define "essential requirements" related to health, safety and environmental issues. Products must meet these requirements in order to be placed on the European market. The three European Standards Organizations, CEN (European Committee for Standardization), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) enable these requirements to be fulfilled through the path of harmonized European Standards. This benefits not only industry but also other stakeholders, in particular the consumers. Indeed, if industries follow harmonized standards, they benefit from a presumption of conformity to the essential requirements set in the directives. Thanks to this, they access 34 countries and reach over 500 million consumers who can benefit from safe and environment-friendly products and services.

A close relation with our respective International Standards Bodies (IEC, ISO, ITU) has also strongly contributed to widely spread European technology all over the world. Since the launch of the New Approach in 1985, several success stories came into being, for example, a set of standards related to CATV network, known as "Cable networks for television signals, sound signals and interactive services" and published in the Official Journal of the European Union under the Low Voltage Directive and the Electro Magnetic Compatibility Directive. These standards opened new markets, created a breakthrough of interactive services and introduced upstream data exchange such as the interaction with the World Wide Web and other new forms of multimedia information and entertainment (for example digital TV).

Further information on the New Approach can be found on the European Commission's website.

Examples of Directives for which CENELEC has developed work:

  • LVD - Low Voltage Directive (2006/95/EC)
  • EMC - Electromagnetic Compatibility (2004/108/EC)
  • R&TTE - Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (1999/5/EC)
  • MD - Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC)
  • MDD - Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC)