Machinery new regulation framework


The text in italic is from the Europa website

Machinery 2006/42/EC directive will be replaced in a short future by a new machinery regulation. Before the presentation of this new regulation framework, let see the different kinds of texts related to European legislation[1].

Types of legislation

The aims set out in the EU treaties are achieved by several types of legal act. Some are binding, others are not. Some apply to all EU countries, others to just a few.

  • Regulations

A "regulation" is a binding legislative act. It must be applied in its entirety across the EU. For example, when the EU wanted to make sure that there are common safeguards on goods imported from outside the EU, the Council adopted a regulation.

  • Directives

A "directive" is a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve. However, it is up to the individual countries to devise their own laws on how to reach these goals. One example is the EU consumer rights directive, which strengthens rights for consumers across the EU, for example by eliminating hidden charges and costs on the internet, and extending the period under which consumers can withdraw from a sales contract.

  • Decisions

A "decision" is binding on those to whom it is addressed (e.g. an EU country or an individual company) and is directly applicable. For example, the Commission issued a decision on the EU participating in the work of various counter-terrorism organisations. The decision related to these organisations only.

  • Recommendations

A "recommendation" is not binding. When the Commission issued a recommendation that EU countries' law authorities improve their use of videoconferencing to help judicial services work better across borders, this did not have any legal consequences. A recommendation allows the institutions to make their views known and to suggest a line of action without imposing any legal obligation on those to whom it is addressed.

  • Opinions

An "opinion" is an instrument that allows the institutions to make a statement in a non-binding fashion, in other words without imposing any legal obligation on those to whom it is addressed. An opinion is not binding. It can be issued by the main EU institutions (Commission, Council, Parliament), the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. While laws are being made, the committees give opinions from their specific regional or economic and social viewpoint. For example, the Committee of the Regions issued an opinion on the clean air policy package for Europe.


The directives are European texts that are applicable to member states that have to integrate the requirements of the directive inside their legislation without any change (no higher or lower requirements). The directives are not directly applicable to machine manufacturers.

For machines 2 kinds of directives exists :

  1. The directives based on article 100a of the European Treaty and that defines essential requirements that shall be followed. In this case the Member States can not add additional requirements inside their legislation and they must copy inside their regulation the text of the directive. Applied to new machines market, machinery directive 2006/42/EC is based on this case of directive in order to allow free movement of products inside European Union.
  2. The directives based on article 118a of the European Treaty and that defines the minimum requirements. In this case the Member States can add additional requirements inside their legislation. the DIRECTIVE that allows the use of a machine whose requirements are defined in DIRECTIVE 2009/104/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 September 2009 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) that replaces 89/655/CEE Directive.

Note that there is no European directive on second-hand work equipment, and the formalities and technical requirements to be complied with are in many cases subject to regulations applicable in each country in the case of the purchase and sale of second-hand work equipment, on the domestic market or on import.

For machinery new machines sector, the applicable official text is the machinery directive :

  • Directive 2006/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on machinery, and amending Directive 95/16/EC (recast) that came into force December 29, 2009 and replaces Machinery Directive 98/37/EC
  • Machinery Directive 98/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 that replace Machinery Directive 89/392/EEC
  • Council Directive 89/392/EEC of 14 June 1989

A new Machinery Regulation is in progress to replace the actual machinery directive.

This revision was based on the fact that if the text of the directive was generally "relevant, effective, efficient and coherent", it was highlighted the need for improvements, simplifications and the need to fill a number of gaps.

The objective of this regulation[2] is to improve the lacks and gaps and to contributes to both the digital transition and the strengthening of the single market. Additionally, the new Machinery Regulation will respond to the market needs by bringing greater legal clarity to the current provisions, simplifying the administrative burden and costs for companies by allowing digital formats for documentation and adapting conformity assessment fees for SMEs, while ensuring coherence with the EU legislative framework for products.

The general objectives of the Machinery Directive are to ensure not only the free movement of machinery within the internal market but also a high level of protection for users and other exposed persons.

This new regulation is not in force at the time the present text was written (February 2022). The available documents are present on the Europa website[3] and comprises several documents :

  • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on machinery products  
  • ANNEX - Annex to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on machinery products
  • Impact assessment 
  • Executive summary of the Impact assessment

[2] The new Machinery Regulation will ensure that the new generation of machinery guarantees the safety of users and consumers, and encourages innovation. While the AI Regulation will address the safety risks of AI systems, the new Machinery Regulation will ensure the safe integration of the AI system into the overall machinery. Businesses will need to perform only one single conformity assessment.