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Automotive

Reference documents - Application of UNECE Regulations

Application of UNECE Regulations and references to them in directives

The relationship between UNECE Regulations and EU directives merits clarification. In this context the following questions have arisen:

What document determines which series of amendments is applicable when a manufacturer applies for a type approval according to a UNECE Regulation?
Only UNECE documents determine the applicable law. Strictly speaking, the applicable series of amendments has to be established based on the minutes of WP.29, AC.1 which refer to official document numbers. For practical reasons, the series of amendments applicable for each Regulation are summarised in Status of the 1958 Agreement and of the annexed Regulations, including the last situation report (ECE/ TRANS/WP.29/343/...). This document is updated about three times a year. Furthermore, you can get information on newly adopted documents from the section 'adopted documents'.

When the Community acceded to the 1958 Agreement, it stated that it is not bound by some of the earlier series of Amendments of Regulations. This is reflected on pages 317 to 321 of the above mentioned Status document. Does this still have any effect today?
Yes, it has. In very few cases, older series of amendments other than those that the Community was ready to accept when acceding are still applicable according to UNECE Regulations. The declaration made by the Community when acceding makes sure that these old series of amendments are excluded.

Has the publication of applicable Regulations and series of amendments in the Official Journal any influence on the applicability of series of amendments?
No, it hasn't. Publication is done for transparency and information purposes only. The list does not replace the above mentioned Status Document.

The EU frequently publishes the text of Regulations in its Official Journal. If the published text is not identical to the one which is currently applicable under UNECE law, which one prevails?
The applicable text is determined by UNECE law only. The applicable Regulations are available from the UNECE website. The publication made by the EU is done in order to fulfil EU internal legal obligations. No publication can modify what has been decided in Geneva by UNECE.

Can an EU Member State issue an ECE type approval according to an old series of amendments which is no longer applicable according to the transitional provisions of the UNECE Regulation, if an EU directive still refers to that old series and thus seems to allow the issuing of such an approval?
No, it cannot. To issue an ECE type approval (with a capital 'E' number) would violate the UNECE law which prevails over EU law. The only legal exception to this is when one fifth of the Contracting Parties applying the Regulation have declared that they wish to stick to the older series of amendments (according to Article 12 para. 2 third sentence of the 1958 Agreement). This is almost never the case in practice.

What is the effect of a sentence in, or annexed to, a particular directive recognising an older series of amendments of a certain UNECE Regulation as an alternative?
None, unless the directive is to be understood as authorising the issuing of a Community approval (with an 'e' number) on condition that the requirements of an older series of amendments are fulfilled (see below).

A particular directive foresees that a Community approval has to be given if the requirements of an older series of amendments (no longer applicable according to the transitional provisions of the ECE Regulation) are fulfilled. Should the type approval authority issue a Community approval?
Yes, it should (with an 'e' number). But it may not issue an ECE approval.

Should a whole vehicle type approval be delivered when there is an approval to a series of amendments which are no longer applicable according to the 1958 Agreement but still listed in Annex IV to the Framework Directive 70/156/EEC?
Yes, the approval authority should deliver the whole vehicle type approval. This is foreseen by the Framework Directive and is not contrary to Article 2 of the 1958 Agreement, in as much as the latter does not deal with whole vehicle type approval at all. No interests of other contracting parties are at stake.

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