A Directive is a type of legislative act adopted by European Union institutions. Along with Regulations and Recommendations, Directives are part of EU legislation. Unlike a Regulation that is implemented in full and directly, a Directive sets forth goals to be achieved by Member States within a certain period of time. This time allows national governments to adapt the local legislation to the new regulations.
A Regulation is a legislative act of the European Union which, as a rule, is immediately applicable in all Member States at the same time. Generally Regulations differ from Directives which are not implemented directly but need to be transposed first in the national legislation of the Member States. Regulations can be adopted through different legislative procedures depending on their subject.
CE Marking is a conformity mark placed on certain products which are directed for the European market after 1993. This mark is used to declare that the respective product corresponds to the European safety requirements, health and environment protection. The European legislation obliges each manufacturer (regardless if the manufacturer is a member of the EU or not) to comply with the accompanying requirements and to place such marking on those goods which will be sold in the European Economic Area and which fall under the “New Approach” European Directives. By placing this marking the manufacturer declares that the product complies with the requirements and that the conformity assessment procedures described in the respective Directive have been performed. CE is a French abbreviation, namely Conformité Européenne (lit. European conformity). CE marking is obligatory for goods to be sold in the European Economic Area market, but only for those which are listed in one or more of the New Approach Directives. These Directives aim at “harmonizing” the safety requirements, i.e. to bringing closer the laws on safety requirements of the Member States. This is part of the more general plan to facilitate the movement of goods within the European Union.