No tests are required for CE-marking to the EMCD

No tests are required for CE-marking to the EMCD image #1

02 Jan 2024

Keith’s 77th Blog
This is original material created entirely by a human on 29th December 2023

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a recent article falsely claiming that EMC testing to EU Harmonised Standards was mandatory for compliance with the European Union’s (EU's) EMC Directive 2014/30/EU (EMCD).

In the early days of the Single European Market, many EMC Test Labs tried to fool us into thinking that the EMCD was a ‘Type Testing’ regulation, but I had thought that, 30 years on, we were all much wiser. 

Passing tests to harmonised standards has always been entirely voluntary for compliance with the EMCD since its first edition, 89/336/EEC, in 1989. Just like it always has been for the LVD.

I’ve selected a few of the relevant statements from the official EMC documents and copied them below, with their URLs.

Yes, passing tests to all relevant EMC Harmonised Standards achieves a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the EMCD, but:

  • It is only a presumption for the purpose of CE marking for crossing national boundaries within the EU;
  • CE-marked products that have a presumption of conformity because they have passed all relevant tests, but are found in real life to be non-compliant with the EMCD’s Essential Requirements, may be banned from the entire EU, with some Member States also insisting on mandatory recalls;
  • The EMCD allows a wide variety of other ways to legally affix the CE marking to products that have not been lab-tested (or only partially lab-tested), for example:

– because they are too large;
– because they are only assembled at their end-user’s premises;
– to reduce financial costs and risks (helpful to start-ups), and any other reasons.

Make no mistake – EMC verification testing is very important during product design and development, and also for quality control in manufacturing.

However, EMC validation testing, often called ‘full-compliance’ testing, is only necessary for certain marketing and/or sales purposes – but not for compliance with the EMCD.

To help improve both time-to-market and international competitiveness, EMC verification testing should be quick and low-cost, and this is the focus of EMC & Compliance International 2024,, which features:

  • Training by world-class experts including Kenneth Wyatt from the USA;
  • Numerous live ‘hands-on’ demonstrations of testing techniques and test equipment, including EMC tests that designers can do themselves on their usual testbenches.

A selection of relevant statements from official EU documents

The EMC Directive 2014/30/EU uri=CELEX:32014L0030&rid=4   


Equipment shall be so designed and manufactured, having regard to the state of the art, as to ensure that:

(a) the electromagnetic disturbance generated does not exceed the level above which radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended;

(b) it has a level of immunity to the electromagnetic disturbance to be expected in its intended use which allows it to operate without unacceptable degradation of its intended use.

Notice these ‘essential legal requirements’ include design and manufacture, but don’t mention EMC testing, because it is voluntary and not a requirement.

The Guide to the EMC Directive 2014/30/EU  

4.3 EMC Assessment

4.3.1 General Concept

The manufacturer shall perform an EMC assessment of the apparatus based on the relevant phenomena in order to ensure that he meets the essential requirements. As noted above the EMCD does not require the mandatory intervention from a third party (e.g. notified body or laboratory) when carrying out the assessment.

After having identified the risks of the apparatus, three methods are possible for the EMC assessment:

a)Application of EMC harmonised standards having checked whether the chosen harmonised standard(s) covers all the phenomena relevant to the product.

b) An EMC assessment where no harmonised standards have been applied and the manufacturer applies his own methodology (other technical specifications).

c) Mixed assessment, combining the two previous methods. For example, one could use the harmonised standards to cover emission phenomena and a detailed technical EMC assessment for immunity aspects.

To re-iterate - the EMC assessment is the sole responsibility of the manufacturer; it is never the responsibility of a third party such as a Notified Body or an EMC test laboratory.

4.3.2 Use of EMC harmonised standards

As harmonised standards are voluntary….. Relevant harmonised standards

When the manufacturer chooses to apply harmonised standards he shall select them in the following precedence order….

4.3.3 An EMC assessment where no harmonised standards have been applied

A manufacturer may wish to declare the conformity of his apparatus directly to the Essential Requirements, without reference to harmonised standards, by addressing the EMC risks with other means.

4.4.2 EU Declaration of Conformity

If harmonised standards have not been used or only partially used….

The EU’s Blue Guide   

4.1.2. Conformity with the essential requirements: harmonised standards

Standards are in themselves of voluntary application. The Presumption of conformity

The recourse to harmonised standards referenced in the OJEU and which give a presumption of conformity remains voluntary. Manufacturers can choose whether or not to apply such harmonised standards or parts thereof.

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