Just about any electronic product you purchase has a little “CE” mark on it. In the mid 1990s this little symbol began to appear, but no one really questioned why it was there. In fact, it has a very important meaning within the European Union. It is a symbol that certifies that the product has met EU safety, health and environmental requirements.
It is a symbol of free marketability within the European Economic Area, or EEA. When a manufacturer puts the CE mark on his product, he is declaring that it meets EU standards. He is then solely responsible for the validity of that symbol. This also applies to products made outside of the EEA. The CE mark is mandatory in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. Countries that are official candidates to join the EU are also adopting the CE symbol. Those countries include Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro.
In order to affix the CE symbol to his product, the manufacturer has to engage in conformity assessment, sign an EC declaration of conformity and set up a technical file. Importers have to follow the same rule, and they have to make sure that someone who represents the manufacturer is easily accessible should the EU legislative body wish to see documentation of conformity.
Distributors of goods have to be able to demonstrate that they have affirmation from the importers and manufacturers that standards have been met. If an importer or distributor markets a product under their own name, then they assume responsibility for the CE marking. That means they have to have sufficient information on the design and production of the product.
Products have to be marked with the CE mark before they are put on the market. The manufacturers are individually responsible for checking which EU directives apply to their products.