Member States and Regulatory Authorities

The European Union (EU) has been formed in a process of integration between European countries which progressed through several waves of accession, as follows:

  • 1951: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands
  • 1973: Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom
  • 1981: Greece
  • 1986: Spain, Portugal
  • 1995: Austria, Finland, Sweden
  • 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia
  • 2007: Bulgaria, Romania
  • 2013: Croatia

All Member States within the EU observe the same emission standards from internal combustion engines. European regulations are developed and enforced by the following institutions:

  • European Parliament: Elected by the peoples of the Member States.
  • Council: Representing the governments of the Member States. The Council of Environment Ministers oversees the area of environmental regulations.
  • Commission: The executive and the body having the right to initiate legislation.

Regulated Engines and Vehicles

Currently the following categories of new engines and/or vehicles are subject to emission standards in the EU:

Emissions of carbon dioxide from passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, once controlled through voluntary agreements with the automotive industry, are regulated effective 2012.

Vehicle Categories

For the purpose of emission standards and other vehicle regulations, vehicles are classified into categories, as listed in Table 1. Further details, such as the types of bodywork and codifications pertinent to the particular vehicle categories, can be found in the Commission Directive 2001/116/EC (amending Directive 70/156/EEC).

Table 1
Definition of Vehicle Categories
Category Description
M Motor vehicles with at least four wheels designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers.
M1 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers and comprising no more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat
M2 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, and having a maximum mass (“technically permissible maximum laden mass”) not exceeding 5 tons
M3 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, and having a maximum mass exceeding 5 tons
N Motor vehicles with at least four wheels designed and constructed for the carriage of goods.
N1 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tons
N2 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tons but not exceeding 12 tons
N3 Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 12 tons
O Trailers (including semi-trailers)
G* Off-Road Vehicles
* Symbol G shall be combined with either symbol M or N. For example, a vehicle of category N1 which is suited for off-road use shall be designated as N1G.

Light commercial vehicles Category N1 are further divided into three weight classes as shown in Table 2. This classification is based on the Reference Mass, defined as the mass of the vehicle in running order less the uniform mass of the driver of 75 kg, and increased by a uniform mass of 100 kg.

Table 2
Vehicles Category N1—Weight Classes
Class Reference Mass, RW
Euro 1-2 Euro 3+
I RW ≤ 1250 kg RW ≤ 1305 kg
II 1250 kg < RW ≤ 1700 kg 1305 kg < RW ≤ 1760 kg
III 1700 kg < RW 1760 kg < RW