On 13 November 2018, the European Commission published a report on the operation and effectiveness of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/35/EU (the “RED”). Applying broadly to products using the radio frequency spectrum, the RED sets out essential requirements for health and safety, electromagnetic compatibility and the efficient use of the spectrum.

The Commission found that it was premature to draw overall conclusions on the effectiveness of the RED. However, it made a number of specific findings and marked certain areas for further consideration, as below:

  1. The Commission found that there was a delay in the publication of harmonised standards under the RED. To address any future delays in publication, the Commission made a number of recommendations including establishing a fast review process for standards.
  2. As a result of market surveillance authorities’ questions on the application of the RED to drones, new Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 amended Annex I of the RED, expanding the scope of the RED to most categories of drones. We covered Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 in our previous blog available here.
  3. An Expert Group on Reconfigurable Radio Systems has been established to analyse the security of connected products (such as dolls and smart watches) alongside the associated risks, especially those posed to children.
  4. “Connected products” were identified as an area for further consideration, in particular, the preparation and adoption of one or more implementing acts to ensure that the compliance of certain radio equipment classes would not be affected by the introduction of new or modified software.

Though this report was limited in what it could effectively draw conclusions on, we assume that the next of these reports, to be published in 2023, will be able to provide more dramatic conclusions on the RED’s effectiveness, especially given the advent of emerging digital technologies.

The full report is available here.