What is it called?

The Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (also known as “RED”) is a European Commission Directive that applies to products falling within the definition of ‘radio equipment’, which covers any products with WiFi or Bluetooth functionality.

What is it about?

The Radio Equipment Directive sets out requirements for ‘radio equipment’. It follows the New Legislative Framework format (for more on this, see our Bitesize here) and requires that, among other things, professionals involved in the design, manufacture and supply of radio equipment:

  • Ensure products are designed to comply with the general safety requirement set out in the Directive, ie. only safe products shall be placed on the market. There is a rebuttable presumption of safety where the product meets harmonised standards. In other cases, safety is assessed by reference to national standards, Commission guidance, industry codes of practice, the state of the art, and consumer expectations regarding safety;
  • Carry out a conformity assessment and affix the CE mark to their product;
  • Draw up and maintain technical documentation for 10 years after the product has been placed on the market;
  • Ensure that products comply with the labelling requirements set out in the Directive;
  • Ensure that products are accompanied by instructions and safety information, including, for products emitting radio waves, the frequency band in which the radio equipment operates and the maximum radio-frequency power transmitted in the frequency band in which it operate; and
  • Take appropriate corrective action where they become aware that their product may not be in conformity with the directive.
  • Notify authorities if they become aware that the product they have placed on the market is unsafe.

All EEA Member States and the UK have adopted the provisions of the Directive into national law, so there are some small variations in its requirements and interpretation at a Member State level.

Who and what does it apply to?

The Radio Equipment Directive applies to manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors of radio equipment, and requires radio equipment is designed and manufactured to comply with its requirements, including safety requirements.

‘Radio equipment’ is very broadly defined and includes any products with WiFi/Bluetooth capability, and so includes almost all consumer technology products.

Why does it matter?

The Radio Equipment Directive is a key piece of EU legislation for technology products, and businesses in the product supply chain must ensure they are aware of their compliance obligations under this Directive.

The European Commission also has the power to adopt Delegated Acts under the Radio Equipment Directive, and there are several in the pipeline to regulated specific product categories. 

In particular, there are currently proposals to amend RED to introduce a common charger across Europe for certain electronic devices, including mobile phones. For more on this, check out our other blog posts on this topic.

Where can I find it?

The Radio Equipment Directive can be found here, and list of harmonised standards here.

For more information, see the Commission’s summary webpage here.

Is there any guidance?

Yes, the guidance on the Radio Equipment Directive can be found here. There is also an FAQ on the transition between the former R&TTE Directive and Radio Equipment Directive here.

Posted by Cooley