New type-approval and market surveillance system for motor vehicles: Council concludes reform of the sector

The Council today adopted a regulation to reform the type-approval and market surveillance system for motor vehicles in the EU.

This major reform modernises the current system and improves control tests on car emissions.

Its aim is to achieve a high level of safety and environmental performance of vehicles and to address the main shortcomings identified in the existing type-approval system.

“We have built a robust and reliable type approval system which will prevent the irregularities that we have seen in the past. It provides European citizens with higher standards of safety and better health and environmental protection. Likewise our car manufacturers will benefit from operating on a level playing field.”
Emil Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy of Bulgaria

Important changes are introduced in three areas by strengthening:

  • the quality of testing that allows a vehicle to be placed on the market through improved technical services
  • market surveillance to control the conformity of vehicles already available on the market, with the possibility for member states and the Commission to carry out spot-checks on vehicles in order to detect failures at an early stage
  • the oversight of the type-approval process, in particular empowering the Commission to carry out periodic assessments on national type-approval authorities and through the establishment of a Forum for the exchange of information on enforcement, made up of representatives of national approval and market surveillance authorities

The harmonised implementation of the new rules across the EU will reduce differences in interpretation and application by national type-approval authorities and technical services.

In addition, the new system will enable the detection of non-compliance cases at an early stage.

The regulation, which will be published in the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks, will be applicable from 1 September 2020


The proposal to modernise the type-approval system of motor vehicles was presented by the Commission on 27 January 2016. It replaces the EU’s current legal framework set out in directive 2007/46/EC.

The Council agreed on a negotiating position in May 2017. Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament led to a provisional agreement on 7 December 2017 which was confirmed by the EU ambassadors on 20 December 2017 and by the European Parliament on 19 April 2018.

A fundamental overhaul of the existing system, which was designed ten years ago, was already foreseen in the EU’s work programme.

However, irregularities discovered on the use of illegal defeat devices by certain car manufacturers have made public opinion, authorities and economic operators aware of the need to implement robust provisions on type-approval, as well as to improve testing methods with respect to pollutant emissions from vehicles, to prevent similar cases in the future.

Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles

Declarations by the Commission – Statement by the Czech Republic and Latvia – Statement by Germany

Vehicle type-approval and market surveillance: EU ambassadors endorse agreement to revamp the sector (press release, 20/12/17)

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