Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Technical harmonisation in the EU

Technical harmonisation in the EU

Technical harmonisation in the EU is based on the Whole Vehicle Type-Approval System (WVTA). Under the WVTA, a manufacturer can obtain certification for a vehicle type in one EU country and market it EU-wide without further tests. The certification is issued by a type-approval authority and the tests are carried out by the designated technical services.

The legal basis

The new EU vehicle type-approval framework applies across the EU from 1 September 2020.

The regulation makes vehicle testing more independent and increases surveillance of cars already in circulation. It 

  • improves the quality and independence of vehicle type-approval and testing
  • increases checks of cars that are already on the EU market
  • strengthens the overall system with greater European oversight

The new rules go together with Commission initiatives such as the proposal for a new deal for consumers. In a Dieselgate-type scenario, this initiative allows victims of unfair commercial practices to obtain remedies collectively through a representative action.

More information: New rules on cleaner and safer cars start to apply across Europe

Questions and answers

Approval authorities

Approval authorities are established or appointed by EU countries and notified to the Commission. The approval authorities have competence for:

  • all aspects of the approval of a type of vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit
  • the authorisation process
  • issuing and, if appropriate, withdrawing or refusing approval certificates
  • acting as the contact point for the approval authorities of other EU countries
  • designating the technical services
  • ensuring that the manufacturer meets his obligations regarding the conformity of production

Lists of approval authorities in the EU countries:

Certificate of conformity (CoC)

A certificate of conformity is a statement by the manufacturer that the vehicle conforms to EU type-approval requirements. EU countries cannot refuse to register vehicles if they are accompanied by a valid CoC that proves their compliance with EU law. 

Technical services

A technical service is an organisation or a body designated by the national approval authority as a:

  • testing laboratory to carry out tests
  • or as a conformity assessment body to carry out the initial assessment and other tests or inspections on behalf of the approval authority

EU countries have to notify the Commission of the name and details of designated technical services for

Lists of technical services for each EU country

Brexit