The CE symbol is not a seal of approval, but an administrative symbol. It indicates that a product fulfils the basic health and safety requirements of all applicable European guidelines and is therefore marketable throughout Europe. The entity responsible is either the manufacturer or producer itself, the importer into the EU, an authorized representative with seat in the EU or a dealer within the delivery chain. This symbol must be applied to all products for which there is a harmonized European product standard.
There are over 30 different CE guidelines for various product groups. Figuring out whether a given product lies in the area of applicability of one or more of these guidelines is a complex task. One can tell from the regulations whether the EC conformity assessment procedure will be applied on the basis of confirmation of compliance with the harmonized standards that has been written by oneself or whether a so-called specified centre must be called in to conduct a prototype test.
That still sounds manageable. But, with some product groups the assessment procedure requires not only technical knowledge that is always up to date but also project management that is complex because of a complex national array of regulations and a multiplicity of special provisions. This is frequently the case with electric devices, toys, machines and construction products.
For some of our customers we manage the entire process of a CE label, and for others we only accompany selected subprojects.
CE or GS?
Advertising with phrases such as “CE-tested” and “CE-certified”, as can be seen sometimes, is not permissible. The CE label, which obligates in any case!, is not a seal of approval but just confirms conformity with pertinent European guidelines. It is a requirement for marketing the products in Europe.
The GS symbol, on the other hand, is an additional, voluntary certificate and, under certain circumstances, can be acquired from an authorized test centre. This certificate constitutes proof for consumers that the product is safe when used in accordance with its intended use, so it is a sales argument, especially in the case of toys and electric devices.