Road safety: Council adopts position on common rules for the circulation of non-road mobile machinery on public roads

The Council adopted its position (‘negotiating mandate’) today on the proposed regulation for the approval and market surveillance of non-road mobile machinery circulating on public roads. This proposal creates harmonised road safety requirements for the circulation of self-propelled machinery (e.g. lawn mowers, harvesters or bulldozers) that needs to circulate on public roads and which up to now was regulated by the member states. The regulation will replace the existing national regulatory regimes, reducing costs, administrative burdens and delays for businesses.

The Council’s negotiating mandate clarifies the rules for adopting technical requirements, allows member states to start granting EU approvals before the formal application of the regulation, removes machines with a maximum speed of less than 6 km/h from the scope of the legislation, and reinforces the market surveillance obligations for manufacturers.

Saving money with common rules

While many technical aspects of non-road mobile machinery are harmonised at EU level, safety requirements for the circulation of mobile machinery on public roads are only regulated by national rules. This causes market fragmentation, additional costs and administrative burdens for the sector. The proposed regulation simplifies the procedures for all the actors of the sector. Manufacturersand distributors of non-road mobile machinery will only have to request road approval once, in one EU country, for the machinery to be accepted for road use in all EU countries. Users (e.g. rental companies) will benefit from a reduction in the compliance cost, and it will be easier for them to use and re-sell machinery across intra-EU borders. Drivers, in turn, will benefit from harmonised rules that ensure a high level of road safety across the EU.

The regulation proposes a simplified one-step procedure that takes into account the specific characteristics of non-road mobile machinery (i.e. that they are not normally on the road). It also establishes more effective market surveillance: it provides for market surveillance procedures, including safeguard measures against non-compliant machinery, aligned with those used in the wider EU legislative framework on products.

Council mandate

While the Council position supports the main objectives of the regulation, it introduces some improvements to clarify the scope, facilitate approvals of new vehicles and reinforce market surveillance.

In particular, the Council position proposes facilitating the adoption of new technical requirements for non-road mobile machinery by adopting them via implementing acts instead of delegated acts. It also introduces EU individual approvals that can be granted by any member state. The approval certificate will have a unique harmonised number which will identify the member state that granted the EU individual approval. Member states will be allowed to voluntarily start granting EU-type approvals as soon as the regulation comes into force and the Commission has adopted the necessary delegated and implementing acts.

The negotiating mandate also proposes a resolution procedure for when the approval authority of a given member state finds that a type-approval granted by another country does not comply, in their view, with the regulation. In such an event, the authority should not recognise the approval, but must inform the authority of the other member state and the Commission, which can decide to refuse recognition via an implementing act.

The Council also proposes creating a new category of vehicles (category ‘U’) for non-road machinery, which will be added to the existing categories (i.e. category M: vehicles carrying passengers; category N: vehicles carrying goods; category L: 2- and 3-wheel vehicles and quadricycles). The position adopted today excludes machinery with a maximum speed of less than 6 km/h from the scope of the regulation.

The Council’s mandate also specifies the requirements applicable to the electronic and paper version of the certificate, both for the authorising authority and for the final purchaser.

Finally, the Council position strengthens the duties of manufacturers’ market surveillance representatives. These representatives will have to inform the manufacturer about complaints and reports relating to risks, suspected incidents or non-compliance issues that relate to non-road mobile machinery, so that the manufacturer can take measures to bring the non-road mobile machinery into compliance, withdraw it or recall it. If the manufacturer acts contrary to the regulation, the representatives can terminate the mandate of the manufacturer and will have to inform the approval authority and the Commission about the date and the reasons for such a decision.


The Commission presented the proposal for a regulation on 30 March 2023. This legislative text completes the EU legal framework for non-road mobile machinery, which up to now included certain harmonised rules, such as directive 2006/42/EC on safety as regards the design and construction of machinery, directive 2014/30/EU on electromagnetic compatibility, and regulation (EU) 2016/1628 on pollutant limits.

A 2019 study indicated that laying down uniform requirements at EU level could help the sector save 18% to 22% in compliance costs. It is expected that over a period of 10 years, this proposal could generate up to €846 million in savings for all stakeholders. Since the administrative cost is estimated at 4% of the total, the overall administrative saving is calculated at €3.38 million per year.

EU production of non-road mobile machinery can be estimated at a value of €12.5 billion per year. The sector is a significant producer and strong exporter of non-road mobile machinery globally. Out of the annual production value, 42% is exported to non-EU countries and 54% is traded within the EU, while only 4% is sold in the EU country where production takes place.

Next steps

The negotiating mandate agreed today formalises the Council’s negotiating position. It provides the Council presidency with a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament, which will start as soon as the Parliament adopts its position.