EU Commission publishes new "Blue Guide"


On 29 June 2022, the European Commission published the guide for the implementation of EU 2022 product legislation - the so-called "Blue Guide". The aim of the guide is to create a better understanding of product regulations within the European Union (EU). It also aims to help ensure that product rules are applied consistently across all sectors of the single market.

View of the Berlaymont in Brussels. © Carl Campbell / Unsplash

The European Commission first published the "Blue Guide" in 2000 and revised it in 2014 and 2016. The new version of the "Blue Guide" builds on the previous editions. These are the main changes:


- a separate chapter on accreditation

- a new chapter on the obligations of
   economic operators

- revisions to the chapters on standardisation
   and market surveillance.


The guide also takes into account the latest changes in legislation. In particular, it addresses the new Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020. In addition, the guide addresses the Regulation of the EU Parliament and Council on the mutual recognition of goods (EU) 2019/515. It is not legally binding, but rather serves as an orientation.


"Blue Guide" is one of the most important reference documents

The "Blue Guide for the implementation of EU 2022 product legislation" explains how to implement the legislation covered by the New Legislative Framework (NLF). It is not only relevant for EU member states. The guide is also aimed at trade and consumer associations, standardisation organisations and manufacturers and distributors. They should be familiar with the rules to ensure the free movement of goods.


The publication also refers to CETA trade agreement with Canada

The "Blue Guide" addresses various aspects of quality infrastructure (QI), such as accreditation and market surveillance. Furthermore, it provides helpful information on conformity assessment. This also applies to products from the area of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The EU and Canada signed the CETA agreement on 30 October 2016. The German government passed a bill for its ratification on 1 July 2022. It intends to make trade relations between Germany and Canada legally secure, modern and sustainable in the future. It also improves market access for goods and services. The overall aim is to strengthen trade relations with Canada.


Market Surveillance Regulation protects consumers and the environment

The new Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 mentioned in the "Blue Guide" improves and modernises the market surveillance of products. It harmonises the requirements for non-food products. This way, consumers and the environment are more protected. The new regulation also aims to improve cooperation between EU member states and market surveillance and customs authorities.


For the first time, the guide defines the term end-user

In addition, the new "Blue Guide" provides a definition for end-users for the first time. The term is explained in the "Blue Guide 2022" on page 46 as "Any natural or legal person residing or established in the Union, to whom a product has been made available either as a consumer outside of any trade, business, craft or profession or as a professional end user in the course of its industrial or professional activities".


In summary, the new "Blue Guide" of the European Commission is a helpful tool for orientation. It takes up important changes in EU regulations and explains them in a comprehensible way. It applies to EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as they are signatories to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). In certain cases, the guide also applies to Switzerland and Turkey.



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