Members' Research Service By / July 7, 2022

Ensuring the safety of machines in the digital age: Revision of the Machinery Directive [EU Legislation in Progress]

The major economic transformations that have unfolded since the first industrial revolution have been driven largely by the increasing uptake of machines, such as machine tools or robots.

© zapp2photo / Adobe Stock

Written by Guillaume Ragonnaud (2nd edition, updated on 17.03.2023).

The current Machinery Directive (Directive 2006/42/EC) was designed to allow the free movement of machinery within the internal market, while ensuring a high level of protection of health and safety of users. To reduce the occurrence of accidents, it promotes inherently safe design and construction of machinery, and proper installation and maintenance.

On 21 April 2021, the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on machinery products, part of a wider ‘artificial intelligence package’. The need for an update stemmed in particular from recent developments in digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and robotics, which have raised new safety challenges. The proposed revision also intends to ensure more coherent interpretation of the scope and definitions, enhance safety for traditional technologies, reassess machines considered as ‘high risk’ and the conformity assessment procedures, reduce paper-based requirements for documentation, ensure coherence with other product safety legislation and avoid divergences in interpretation stemming from transposition.

The Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the new regulation on 15 December 2022. In the Council, the Permanent Representatives Committee approved the agreement on 25 January 2023. In the Parliament, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) approved the agreement on 2 March 2023 by 36 votes in favour and one abstention. The vote in plenary on Parliament’s first reading position will take place in April.

The machinery industry in the EU


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on machinery products
Committee responsible:Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)COM(2021)202
Rapporteur:Ivan Štefanec (EPP, Slovakia)2021/0105(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Adriana Maldonado López (S&D, Spain)
Svenja Hahn (Renew, Germany)
David Cormand (Greens/EFA, France)
Marco Campomenosi (ID, Italy)
Carlo Fidanza (ECR, Italy)
Kateřina Konečná (The Left, Czechia)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Vote in plenary on first reading position
voted in Plenary

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