The CEE7 European standard
CEE7 is a standard for AC plugs and sockets, dating from 1951 and published by the predecessor of the IECEE, the Commission internationale de réglementation en vue de l’approbation de l’équipement éléctrique or International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment.
CEE7 is the only CEE standard to retain its name; all others have been superseded by IEC or CENELEC standards: CEE13 for cable became IEC 60227; CEE17 for industrial plugs became IEC60309; and CEE22 became IEC 60320.
CEE publication 7 in full is the Specification for plugs and socket-outlets for domestic and similar uses. It lists general requirements for 6 plugs and 3 mating socket outlets, not all of which are in common usage any more. Individual countries have their own national standards that incorporate and may add to CEE7. See our European product page for a full list of national standards and approvals. Many other countries use the same pin spacing, most of which are listed in IEC/TR 60083, and this makes the unearthed CEE7/16 Europlug near-universal.
The only European countries that do not use CEE7 as their main plugs and sockets are: UK (inc. Gibraltar); Ireland; Malta; Cyprus; Denmark (inc. Faroe Islands and Greenland); Switzerland (inc. Liechtenstein); Italy (inc. San Marino and Vatican City). N.b. all CEE7 plugs fit Danish standard sockets, but will not be earthed.
All CEE7 plugs and socket outlets except the Europlug are rated up to 16 Amps at 250 Volts AC (alternating current). The plugs are characterised by a generally circular face, with two 4.8mm diameter round pins with their centres spaced at 19mm. Both plugs and sockets are unpolarised, so the line and neutral connections can be either way round. The major variations are in the existence and location of the earth contacts. Plugs can be moulded or rewireable, angled or straight, or panel mounted appliance inlets; outlets can be domestic type wall sockets, inline connectors, and extension lead sockets.