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14 Oct 2011


Health & Consumers

Today, to mark World Standards Day, the European Commission has organised a conference on “Competitiveness through standardisation”. ANEC recognises the contribution that European standards can make to business competitiveness but stresses that those standards supporting legislation and public policies need also to reflect the views of societal stakeholders.

Through the Single Market Act, the Commission highlighted the need for the private system of European standardisation to evolve in order to keep pace with the development of new technologies and help innovative goods be brought to the market. These changes are meant to be facilitated through the Standardisation Regulation, published by the Commission on 1 June, and which has now started its process through the Parliament and the Council.

But the Standardisation Regulation also intends to allow the Commission to use European Standards to underpin the nascent European market for services in much the same way that more than 20.000 European standards now support the single market for products. For this reason, ANEC asks the Institutions to note the importance of the proposal in the Regulation to confirm political and financial to support to those European associations established to represent societal stakeholders & SMEs in the European standardisation process (the ‘Annex III’ organisations of the draft Regulation). These stakeholders are weak or absent in many Member States and their influence in the process would be missing without representation directly at the European level.

ANEC urges the Institutions to recognise that the development of the full European Standard (denoted EN) requires time in order to reflect the views of all interested parties, regardless of the position of these parties on the economic & social spectrum. Nevertheless, the three European Standards Organisations (CEN, CENELEC & ETSI) have made very significant reductions in the development time of the EN which is now routinely published in two to three years. This compares extremely favourably with the time taken for the drafting and adoption of European laws, particularly those pursued by the Commission in the early years of the creation of the Single Market, before it decided to embrace standardisation.

Hence ANEC is against the wish of the Commission to further accelerate the development of European standards as this could happen only at the risk of some stakeholder groups being excluded from the process, or the technical content of the standards being compromised.

Safety must always come before speed.


ANEC in brief

Raising standards for consumers

ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, defending consumer interests in the processes of technical standardisation and conformity assessment as well as related legislation and public policies. ANEC was established in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law and represents consumer organisations from 31 European countries. ANEC is funded by the European Union and EFTA, with national consumer organisations contributing in kind. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels.

More information:

European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation, AISBL

Av. de Tervueren 32, box 27 – B-1040 Brussels, Belgium - phone +32-2-743 24 70 - fax +32-2-706 54 30

E-mail: - internet: