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CEN and CENELEC highlight role of standards in raising the quality of business services and underpinning the growth of this key sector

Date

10 Apr 2014

Sections

Innovation & Enterprise

CEN and CENELEC have welcomed the Final Report of the High Level Group on Business Services, which was published by the European Commission on 9 April. CEN and CENELEC are committed to supporting the development of voluntary standards that enable businesses to perform more efficiently, contribute to improving the quality of services, facilitate the completion of the European Single Market, and support the continuing growth of this key sector of economic activity.

'Business Services' refers to a wide range of activities that involve a company selling various kinds of services to another company or organization. Examples of business services include: professional services (such as accountancy, consulting and legal services); technical services (such as design, engineering and architectural services); and operational support services (such as office leasing, staff recruitment, security and cleaning services). They can also refer to services linked to particular products (such as maintenance contracts).

The trend towards outsourcing is a key driver of growth in the business services sector, which in global terms is estimated to have doubled in size during the last decade. According to the European Commission, the business services sector in the European Union includes 4 million companies, employs 20 million people, and accounts for (at least) 11.7% of the EU economy (i.e. around €1.5 trillion gross value added per year).

The European Commission’s High Level Group on Business Services was set up in March 2013 and its members included representatives of various stakeholders including business and employers organizations, service providers, trade unions and research institutes. CEN and CENELEC were represented in the High Level Group by Scott Steedman (CEN Vice-President Policy) and Elena Santiago Cid (Director General of CEN and CENELEC).

The Final Report of the High Level Group on Business Services was published by the European Commission on 9 April. It sets out a vision for achieving a thriving business services sector in Europe, and highlights the need to ensure an integrated European Single Market with "a supportive regulatory and standards framework".

The High Level Group’s Final Report sets out a series of recommendations to the European Commission, including the need to complete the European Single Market for business services, and refers to the role of European Standards in this context. It also emphasizes the importance of removing barriers to international trade in business services, so that companies based in Europe can sell their services around the world.

Speaking on behalf of CEN and CENELEC, Scott Steedman (CEN Vice-President Policy), said: "We welcome the publication of the Final Report of the High Level Group on Business Services, within which CEN and CENELEC played an active role. The report underlines the need to complete the European Single Market for business services and highlights the added value of developing and adopting voluntary standards at European level."

"All the evidence shows that that by applying relevant standards, companies can benefit from higher levels of performance, productivity and efficiency. Standards can also help companies to improve the quality and reliability of the services they provide, which leads to higher levels of confidence and satisfaction among their customers."

"In CEN, we will continue to work with our national members, with business service providers and other stakeholders, to enable the development of voluntary market-led standards based on best practice, taking into account the needs of service-providers and service-users. In this way, we can contribute to the completion of the European Single Market for services and support the growth of the business services sector."

By adopting common standards at European level, which are recognized and accepted in 33 countries (including all of the EU Member States), CEN and CENELEC make it easier for companies to sell their products and services across the whole of Europe. Businesses, public authorities and other organizations that wish to make use of business services can also benefit from having access to a much wider choice of service providers.

CEN and CENELEC also play a valuable role in working with national and regional standardization bodies around the world to promote the international alignment of standards, both by means of bilateral agreements and through the international standardization organizations ISO and IEC. The international alignment of standards makes it easier for companies based in Europe to offer and sell their services in other parts of the world, notably in the framework of trade agreements between the EU and its key trading partners.

CEN and CENELEC are ready and willing to contribute to the review of the 'Europe 2020' strategy (as announced by the European Commission on 5 March), and also to the review of obstacles to the European Single Market (which is expected next year).

 

Notes

The Final Report of the High Level Group on Business Services is available on the website of the European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry).

For more information, please see the Press Release (IP/14/393) and Memo (MEMO/14/265), which were issued by the European Commission on 9 April 2014.

For more information about European standardization activities in relation to services, please see the CEN website.

Read the full press release (pdf version)

 

Media contact

Ben Carlin
Communication Unit
CEN-CENELEC Management Centre
T: +32 2 550 08 32
Email
Twitter: @CENCLCpress

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