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European Commission (EEC)

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The "New Approach", defined in a Council Resolution of May 1985, represents an innovative way of technical harmonisation. It introduces, among other things, a clear separation of responsibilities between the EC legislator and the European standards bodies CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in the legal framework allowing for the free movement of goods.

European Commission directives define the "essential requirements", e.g., protection of health and safety that goods must meet when they are placed on the market.

The European standards bodies have the task of drawing up the corresponding technical specifications meeting the essential requirements of the directives, compliance with which will provide a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements. Such specifications are referred to as "harmonised standards".

The establishment of an internal market based upon the free movement of goods critically depends upon an adequate level of technical harmonization. Since 1985, the "new approach to harmonisation and standardisation" has represented a major change in dealing with the drafting of directives which are proposed in application of Art. 100A of the Treaty.