What is a CE marking and its purpose?

There is a general perception that the CE marking is a general quality or safety mark for products. This perception is incorrect. The CE marking is an abbreviation of the words “Conformité Européenne”. The CE marking is intended to facilitate the free movement of goods within the EU’s internal market. By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer declares that the product complies with EU directives, essential requirements of regulations and harmonised standards. It is thus a declaration by the manufacturer – not a decision or approval by an authority.

The CE marking is based on the legal requirements for the characteristics of the product and the conformity assessment procedure. The CE marking on a product, therefore, means that the product meets the minimum requirements for safety, health, environmental protection, and consumer protection. The manufacturer of the product or his authorised representative is responsible for attaching the CE marking.

However, in some product groups, the legislation requires the involvement of a third party, that is a Notified Body designated by the member state, which has assessed the conformity of the product. Those products are, among others, personal protective equipment, some construction products, and some machines such as chainsaws. The manufacturer shall ensure that the conformity assessment has included the assessment of the notified body if the legislation so requires. Only after a conformity assessment procedure by the manufacturer or an approved assessment by a Notified Body can the product bear the CE marking, allowing the product to move freely within the EU.

The use of the CE marking is strictly regulated. The CE marking must not be affixed to any product, but only to products in accordance with applicable product legislation. Products that require the CE marking include toys, machinery, lifts, electrical equipment, personal protective equipment, gas and measuring equipment, and certain construction products.

As mentioned above, the CE marking is not a general mark indicating the safety or high quality of a product. There may also be other markings on the product, and this is often required by law. However, this is subject these the conditions:

  • other markings have a different purpose than the CE marking;
  • they are not confused with the CE marking; and
  • their use does not impair the reliability or visibility of the CE marking.

In Finland, supervisory authorities, such as Tukes, Traficom and Fimea, monitor compliance with the requirements for CE marking. If the CE marking is used inappropriately, the supervisory authority may order the product to be withdrawn from the market. Breach of the obligations imposed on the CE marking (infringement of the CE marking) may also result in a fine, although those cases are quite rare.


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