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EUROPEAN STANDARDS: 30 YEARS (AND COUNTING) OF BUILDING TRUST IN THE SINGLE MARKET

Date

17 Mar 2023

Sections

Trade & Society

In 2023, the Single Market celebrates its 30th anniversary. The CEN and CENELEC community is happy to join the European institutions in this important celebration, and looks forward to harnessing the full power of standards to ensure the Single Market continues delivering on its promises for all Europeans. 

Since its creation in 1993, the Single Market has established itself as one of the EU’s greatest achievements: by facilitating trade, reducing red tape, and ensuring the same levels of safety and quality across the block, it has helped make everyday life easier, fuelling jobs and growth in all of Europe.

Throughout this history, European standards have played a decisive role. Thanks to a unique standardization system based on consensus and inclusion, standards build trust in the Single Market: they ensure that products sold in Europe meet the highest levels of quality and safety for consumers and – in the case of harmonised standards (hENs) – help users comply with European legislation. Moreover, as one of the main components of the so-called “Brussels effect”, they have helped strengthen the position of European business on the global market. 

The 30 years anniversary is an opportunity not only to celebrate successes, but also to look at the future. To successfully tackle today’s challenges and ensure it can stay competitive on the long term, Europe needs a strong, resilient, and up-to-date Single Market

As the European Commission points out in two communications issued on 16 March, this entails a series of priorities: removing still existing barriers; deepening the Single Market by fostering the integration of services; expanding it to include emerging digital and green technologies; using it to reduce strategic dependencies; and investing on research, education and skills.

CEN and CENELEC, as two of the official European standardization organizations (ESOs), have always been committed to the well-functioning of the Single Market: through a combined portfolio of around 24.000 standards in all sectors, the two organizations have provided vital tools that have supported the Single Market in its growth.

Now, this commitment is reinforced by the renewed partnership set by the new European Standardization Strategy. Through a more strategic approach, which includes the establishment of the High-Level Forum for Standardization, the European Commission has shown its belief in the role of standards in designing the future of the Single Market. 

By leveraging an extensive network of national members, experts, industrial partners and other stakeholders, CEN and CENELEC are ready to work to develop actionable standardization solutions in those areas identified as key to Europe’s resilience: to name a few, Clean Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Hydrogen, or Critical Raw Materials. 

Elena Santiago Cid, CEN and CENELEC’s Director General, commented: “The 30th Anniversary of the Single Market is a good occasion to take stock of our common successes until now and to reflect on the future. CEN and CENELEC are ready to continue working together with the European Commission and all relevant stakeholders to harness the power of standards and ensure that the Single Market continues deploying its benefits to all European citizens, for the next thirty years and beyond”. 

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