The Radio Equipment Directive (RED)

The European Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) establishes a regulatory framework for placing radio equipment on the European market. The objective of this directive is to ensure a single market for radio equipment by establishing essential requirements for safety and health, electromagnetic compatibility and the efficient use of the radio spectrum. Furthermore, Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) forms the basis of further regulations governing some additional aspects, such as - for example - the protection of privacy and anti-fraud measures.

This directive falls within the legislative framework for the free movement and marketing of products in the European community. Its ultimate goal is to avoid the risks associated with radio products, defending a common interest of European citizens and companies by requiring the certification of radio equipment.

The English name for this directive is: Radio Equipment Directive;

Its abbreviated acronym is: RED;

Its code is: 2014/53/EU;

The previous directives on this topic, which are no longer in force today are: 1999/5/EC, 98/13/EC.

It is useful to know the references of the old directives because they are often found in the documentation of products or components, but also in European laws and regulations if they have not been recently updated.

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Field of application: Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) concerns any electrical or electronic product that intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for radiocommunication and/or radiodetermination purposes.

Essential requirements: the products involved in the scope of application of the directive, to be placed on the European market, must comply with the following essential requirements for the certification of radio equipment.

  • Protection of the health and safety of people and domestic animals and property, including the objectives regarding the safety requirements set out in Directive 2014/35/EU, but without applying minimum voltage limits;
  • Adequate level of electromagnetic compatibility pursuant to Directive 2014/30/EU;
  • Effective use of the radio spectrum and avoidance of harmful interference;
  • Radio equipment in certain categories must ensure compliance with additional essential requirements, for example against fraud or for use by disabled people.

Main contents of the directive

  • Premises
  • Field of application
  • Definitions
  • Essential requirements
  • Manufacturer's obligations
  • Obligations of other economic operators
  • Free movement
  • Presumption of conformity and harmonized standards
  • Conformity assessment
  • Notified bodies
  • CE marking


The motivations that led to the writing of the directive itself are understood as "Premises".

Field of application

The scope defines the categories of products or phenomena regulated by the directive. Often a general criterion is expressed accompanied by explicit lists of products/phenomena that are subject to the directive and of products/phenomena that are excluded from the directive in order to clarify particular situations.


The "Definitions" section includes all specific explanations of the main terms used in the directive, useful for fully understanding the field of application.

Essential requirements

The essential requirements are the requirements with which the product must comply in order to be placed on the market. Often the essential requirements are found in Annex I of the Directive.

Manufacturer's obligations

The manufacturer (or his authorized representative in the European Community) is primarily responsible for placing a product on the market. This chapter describes the obligations and procedures that they must follow, referring to the annexes of the directive for more detailed explanations and regulations.

Obligations of other economic operators

Distributors and retailers are also responsible and liable if they trade in items that do not comply with European directives. They must check that the product has undergone radio equipment certification, has the EU declaration of conformity and bears the CE mark.

The potential importer must ensure that the procedures for verifying the conformity of the product have been carried out, must verify the presence of the CE marking and ensure that the technical documentation of the product is available to the competent national authorities.

Free movement

Member States must presume that products bearing the CE marking comply with all provisions of the applicable directives requiring its affixing. They cannot therefore prohibit, limit or prevent the placing on the market and putting into service on their territory of products bearing the CE marking, unless the provisions relating to CE marking have been applied improperly.

Presumption of conformity and harmonized standards

The directives of our interest are associated with a list of harmonized standards which is published in the European Official Journal. Harmonized standards make it much easier to verify the conformity of a product with the requirements of a directive. These standards describe in detail how the tests or other types of assessment necessary to verify that a product complies must be carried out.

If harmonized standards are available for a product to cover all the requirements of the directive - if these standards are applied in a complete manner and the product passes all the tests required by the standards themselves - then it can be assumed that the product complies with the safety requirements. that directive. In the absence of harmonized standards suitable for the product, the path is more complicated and expensive.

Equipping a suitable laboratory to carry out the tests required by the Harmonized Standards is quite expensive. For this reason, manufacturers often rely on external testing laboratories.

Notified bodies

In Europe it is the body that can carry out a conformity assessment by acting as a third party or evaluate whether the one carried out by the manufacturer and its trusted laboratories is correct. In most cases, however, the use of a notified body is not foreseen or in any case not necessary.

CE marking

Products that comply with all provisions of the applicable directives requiring the CE marking must bear it. This marking is, in particular, an indication that the products comply with the essential requirements of all applicable directives and that they have undergone a conformity assessment procedure provided for by the directives themselves. Member States are also required to take the necessary measures to protect the CE marking.

Sicom Testing offers a complete service for certification of radio equipment operating according to the main telecommunications standards.

To request further information on this topic, write to
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