The compromise amendments on the revision of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, prepared within the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament, were voted and approved on 2nd May 2022.

After the release of the proposal of the European Commission, one year ago, discussions have been held in parallel at the European Council and at the European Parliament.

When it comes to the Parliament, the IMCO – Internal Market and Consumer Protection – Committee was assigned the responsibility to prepare the position (rapporteur MEP Stefanec), with compromise amendments taking into account the opinion expressed by the EMPL – Employment and Social Affairs – Committee, who mostly focused on technical requirements, as well as the multiple amendment proposals put forward by Members of the IMCO committee.

The final version was voted and agreed upon on 2 May 2022. Among the main points:

  • Introduction of a decoupling between the Machinery Regulation and the AI Regulation. The original plan was to publish both Regulations at the same time, but considering the hard discussions on AI, the French presidency of the Council proposed to decouple them. This means in practice that the notion of AI is not mentioned anymore in the Machinery Regulation; an alternative wording is used, with a specific reference to “machine learning techniques”. This proposal goes in the direction proposed by CEMA, who always wanted to limit the validation by third party to the systems ensuring safety functions and taking their own decisions. An accurate formulation is therefore important to avoid diverging interpretations between authorities;
  • Review of the “high-risk machinery” concept: the wording “high-risk machinery products” was abandoned in favour of the original concept which references products subject to a specific conformity assessment procedure. Additionally, the question of the mandatory validation by a third party was highly questioned by the industry: the possibility to validate a product through self‑compliance procedure, on the basis of a harmonised standard covering all the significant hazards has proven satisfactory.

As a compromise, the Annex providing the list of products subject to a specific conformity assessment procedure has been split into two parts: Part A, where the validation must be carried out by a notified body; Part B, where the validation may be done directly by the manufacturer.

  • The request to have a supervisory control function on autonomous mobile machinery was maintained. This point leads to potential big issues, in particular for small equipment: they do not have the capability to be fitted with such costly system – camera, wireless, applications for streaming. Additionally, this function is contradictory with ergonomic considerations.
  • Clarification on transitional provisions for machinery produced according to the Machinery Directive and placed on the market before the date of application of the Machinery Regulation. The question is still open for the case where a machine is produced and not placed on the market.
  • Proposal to extend the date of the repeal of the Machinery Directive and the date of application of the new Machinery Regulation from 30 months to 48 months: this would enable manufacturers to get most of the updated harmonised standards published and avoid unnecessary administrative burden.

The Parliament position, as amended and adopted by IMCO, must still be adopted during a plenary session of the Parliament.

Meanwhile, discussions are still ongoing at the Council level, but were moved from the Working party on technical harmonisation of the Council of the European Union to the COREPER (Permanent Representatives Committee), showing that the technical discussions are almost over. The main proposals highlighted above (decoupling with the AI Regulation and split of the list of products subject to a specific conformity assessment procedure) have also been introduced.

Once the draft compromise is ready at the Council level, the next step will be to start the trilogue discussions, i.e. discussions between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, to find an agreement on the diverging items. This should occur with a short delay mid-June.