The CE marking as it has been legally called since 1993 (per directive 93/68/EEC)(Decision 93/465/EEC), or formerly EC mark, is a mandatory conformity marking for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area (EEA). With the CE marking on a product, the manufacturer declares that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives.
The actual meaning of “CE” has been disputed. It is often taken to be an abbreviation of French: Conformité Européenne, meaning “European Conformity”. However, “CE” originally stood for “Communauté Européenne”, “Comunidad Europea”, “Comunidade Europeia” and “Comunità Europea”, meaning “European Community”. In former German legislation, the CE marking was called “EG-Zeichen” meaning “European Community mark”. According to the European Commission, the CE logo has become a symbol for free marketability of industrial goods within the EEA without any literal meaning, which appears contradictory to what they say today (cf. above reference no. 2).
The Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment2002/95/EC (commonly referred to as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive or RoHS was adopted in February 2003 by the European Union. The RoHS directive took effect on 1 July 2006, and is required to be enforced and become law in each member state. This directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) 2002/96/EC which sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of a legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amounts of toxic e-waste.