New Legislative Framework (NLF)
What is it?
The New Legislative Framework (NLF) is a flexible regulatory framework for the marketing of products that sets essential requirements to be fulfilled in order to meet policy objectives, such as health and safety, and allows manufacturers to decide how the requirements can be technically achieved at product level. The conformity assessment procedure is facilitated through the use of harmonised standards that provide a presumption of conformity to the law for many engineering products. This compliance is declared through the affixing of the CE-marking on the product or its packaging.
The New Legislative Framework was set in 2008 on the basis of the long standing experience of the New Approach to technical harmonisation that started in 1973. It consists of a Regulation setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products (765/2008/EC) and a Decision which is used as a cast for all future product harmonisation legislation. This set of rules built on the innovative 'New Approach' in two ways:
- Regulation EU 765/2008 improved the legal framework for the services offered by accredited third-party conformity assessment bodies (known as notified bodies), sets the wording of administrative requirements, describes the different conformity assessment modules and specifies what technical documentation is necessary to show the compliance of a product.
- Decision 768/2008 EU described in detail the possible modules of conformity assessment and a single set of administrative requirements that products covered by harmonised legislation should comply with. Thereby, manufacturers know that they have to comply with these regardless of the piece of harmonisation legislation that may apply to their products. Such requirements describe which elements can be used for the product’s traceability and technical documentation. They also foresee when corrective measures need to be taken or when authorities should be informed.
Why is it important?
The manufacturer’s self-declaration of conformity under module 'A' for electric equipment and most machines is a cornerstone of European manufacturing’s competitiveness at global level. It reduces the cost for placing a product on the EU Internal Market, but more importantly it offers flexibility to manufacturers. Moreover, the alignment of all administrative requirements across EU product legislation simplifies the production lines of manufacturers and helps them to streamline documentation and labelling for each product category.
Finally, the New Legislative Framework should largely facilitate the work of market surveillance authorities as it establishes obligations for all economic operators in the supply chain and sets strict traceability requirements for products.
We consider that the New Legislative Framework is fit for purpose and its adaptation during the 2013 alignment of 10 Directives with it should be used for all harmonisation legislation that is going to be revised. Otherwise, the aim of setting a single set of administrative requirements for most manufactured products will be largely undermined.
Finally, we expect market surveillance authorities to make use of the improved traceability elements that are going to be placed on the products to improve their market surveillance activities and take measures against non-compliant products (see our section on market surveillance).
How we’ve been engaged
Orgalime actively worked on the adoption of the New Legislative Framework in 2008. Since then, we advocated for its broad use. In most parts we succeeded as no new requirements were added to the directives besides the ones that were in place in 2008. Moreover, we guaranteed further flexibility for economic operators in fulfilling their obligations. Most importantly, we avoided the adoption of diverging requirements among directives. Therefore, manufacturers have a coherent set of administrative requirements to comply with.
Currently we are working closely with policy makers and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth implementation of these obligations without diverging interpretations among market surveillance authorities. Therefore, we have contributed a large number of comments to the revision of the Guide on the implementation of EU product rules (known as the Blue Guide). Currently, we are preparing our comments and contribution to the Directive-specific guides of the aligned directives. These guides will be drafted by the market surveillance authorities with the coordination of the European Commission.
In the future, Orgalime will closely monitor the revision of any harmonisation legislation to ensure that they will fully uptake the provisions foreseen in the New Legislative Framework.
- The New Legislative Framework on the Commission’s website
- The Guide on the implementation of EU product rules 2014 (Blue Guide)
- The New and global approach - Web pages of the Commission
- Regulation setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products (EU 765/2008)
- Decision on a common framework for the marketing of products (768/2008/EC)