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In addition to the principles of the New Approach, conditions for reliable conformity assessment are necessary. The key elements in this respect are the building of confidence through competence and transparency, and the setting up of a comprehensive policy and framework for conformity assessment. The Council Resolution of 1989 on the Global Approach to certification and testing states the following guiding principles for Community policy on conformity assessment.
  • A consistent approach is developed in Community legislation by devising modules for the various phases of conformity assessment procedures, and by laying down criteria for the use of these procedures, for the designation of bodies operating these procedures, and for the use of the CE marking.
  • The use of European standards relating to quality assurance (EN ISO 9000 series), and to the requirements to be fulfilled by conformity assessment bodies operating quality assurance (EN 45000 series) is generalized.
  • Setting up of accreditation systems and the use of inter-comparison techniques are promoted in Member States and at Community level.
  • Mutual recognition agreements concerning testing and certification in the non-regulatory sphere are promoted.
  • The differences of existing quality infrastructures (such as calibration and metrology systems, testing laboratories, certification and inspection bodies, and accreditation bodies) between Member States and between industrial sectors are minimized by programs.
  • International trade between the Community and third countries is promoted by means of mutual recognition agreements, cooperation and technical assistance programs.
The New Approach entailed refining conformity assessment in such a way as to allow the Community legislator to evaluate the consequences of the utilization of different conformity assessment mechanisms. The objective was to provide flexibility of conformity assessment over the entire manufacturing process in order for it to be adapted to the needs of each individual operation. The Global Approach introduced a modular approach, which subdivided conformity assessment into a number of operations (modules). These modules differ according to the stage of development of the product (for example design, prototype, full production), the type of assessment involved (for example documentary checks, type approval, quality assurance), and the person carrying out the assessment (the manufacturer or a third party).


Click here to browse for standards associated with each specific European Union New Approach Directive.