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1 What is the GPSD?
The GPSD (2001/95/EC) is a Union directive for the general safety of products. It is a ‘horizontal’
directive which complements the specific (vertical) (New Approach) product legislation and covers
consumer products that are not regulated by specific EU legislation.
2 When did the GPSD come into force?
The GPSD came into force and its reference was published in the Official Journal (OJEC L 11) of
2002-01-15. It replaced the former directive 92/59/EEC. However it only entered into effect on the
15th of January 2004, deadline for the Member States to transpose the directive into national law.
3 Is the GPSD a New Approach directive?
The GPSD is not a New Approach directive. The directive has no Essential Safety Requirements
(ESR) nor provides for CE marking.
The purpose of the directive is to ensure that products placed on the market are safe and it
contains a ‘general safety requirement’.
A product which has been produced in line with a European Standard, the title of which has been
published in the OJ, is presumed to be safe in line with the GPSD.
4 Does the GPSD contain Essential Safety Requirements?
Unlike New Approach directives, the GPSD does not contain ESR.
The GPSD covers a wide range of products, which are defined in article 2 of the directive as:
“any product – including in the context of providing a service – which is intended for consumers or likely,
under reasonably foreseeable conditions, to be used by consumers even if not intended for them, and is
supplied or made available whether for consideration or not, in the course of a commercial activity, and
whether new, used or reconditioned.”
Only “safe” products can be placed on the market:
“…‘safe product’ shall mean any product which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions
of use including duration and, where applicable, putting into service, installation and maintenance
requirements, does not present any risk or only the minimum risks compatible with the product's
use, considered to be acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and
health of persons …..”
The directive provides for the Commission to give mandates to CEN for the development of
European Standards for specific products. These mandates will be based on ”safety requirements”
intended to ensure that the products which conform to these standards satisfy the general safety
requirement of the directive. After having consulted formally the Committee of the directive, the
Commission decides on these requirements, which will be similar to ESR of New Approach
directives. The Committee of the directive is chaired by the European Commission and is
composed of representatives of the national authorities of the Member States in charge of the
national implementation of the directive. Observers, including representatives from CEN, may be
invited to attend the meeting for specific agenda items.
5 How has CEN been involved so far?
CEN and other stakeholders participated in the preparation of the directive.
Following its entry into force, CEN and other stakeholders, have attended meetings of the
Committee of the directive. The committee meets 3 or 4 times per year and gives opinions on
operational issues. On standardisation issues this opinion is given by qualified majority of the
Member States, calculated according to the same rules as the Council voting.
6 Are there any CEN consultants for the GPSD (consultants responsible for assessing
standards regarding presumption of conformity to ESR)?
The GPSD is not a New Approach directive, it contains no ESR and therefore no consultant has
been appointed. In addition the GPSD is ahorizontal directive, covering many kinds of products.
There is no plan to appoint consultants.
7 On what basis/according to what criteria are EN chosen?
There are several criteria:
• EN should contain requirements which ensure that the product is in line with the definition
of a “safe product” as defined in the directive (see definition of ‘safe product’, Q4);
• Only EN for products can be cited;
• The EN is neither currently being revised nor about to be revised.
8 Where can I find further information?
• The Commission has an extensive webpage on the GPSD. It can be found at:
The above texts are sourced from
The European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
Its mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment.
Through its services it provides a platform for the development of European Standards and other technical specifications.
CEN is a major provider of European Standards and technical specifications.
It is the only recognized European organization according to Directive 98/34/EC for the planning, drafting and adoption of European Standard
CEN's 31 National Members work together to develop voluntary European Standards (ENs).
These standards have
a unique status since they also are national standards in each of its 31 Member
With one common standard in all these countries and every conflicting national standard withdrawn,
a product can reach a far wider market with much lower development and testing costs.
ENs help build a European Internal Market for goods and services and position
More than 60.000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and other societal interest organizations are involved in the CEN network
that reaches over 480 million people.
In a globalized
world, the need for international standards simply makes sense.
The Vienna Agreement − signed by CEN in 1991 with ISO (International Organization for Standardization),
its international counterpart − ensures technical cooperation by correspondence, mutual representation at meetings and coordination meetings,
and adoption of the same text, as both an ISO Standard and a European Standard.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between
The Business Social Compliance Initiative is a leading business-driven initiative for companies committed to improving working conditions in the global supply chain. The BSCI is the European monitoring system for ethical procurement initiated by FTA.
The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) is the association for European commerce specialized in international trade issues. The FTA is dedicated to the improvement of the political and legal environment for European commerce with respect to the European Union, international institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and national governments worldwide.
nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
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