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20 Oct 2010


Health & Consumers
Innovation & Enterprise

Tomorrow (21 October), the European Parliament will vote on a proposal to adopt the IMCO Report on the future of European standardisation. ANEC believes the recommendations of the Report set out a vision for a more effective and better balanced European Standardisation System, one able to be more inclusive of societal interests while aiding the competitiveness of European business.


For the past 25 years, European Standards have helped to create and maintain the Single European Market. The adoption of over 20.000 European Standards as identical national standards in 31 countries (the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Croatia) has helped to dismantle a multitude of trade barriers, encouraging increased competition and lower costs.


However, the dependence of the European Standardisation System on national delegations to develop standards (in all fields apart from IT and telecommunications) has meant that the societal voice – including the voice of consumers - has not always been present or as influential as it should have been. The Access to Standardisation study, prepared for the European Commission in 2009, confirmed the consumer interest in standardisation to be “only marginally represented in many countries”.


Hence ANEC welcomes the recommendation of the IMCO Report for European associations acting on behalf of societal stakeholders to be made ‘effective members’ of the European Standards Organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI). Bearing in mind the ageing population of Europe - more than 30% of the population will be aged 65 or older by 2060 - we also welcome a call for European Standards to take into account the needs of all consumers, regardless of age or ability. And, noting the wish of the European Commission to extend the use of European standards to support public policies, as well as legislation on products and services, we welcome the request of the Report for the Commission and the European Standards Organisations to assess alternative means of standards development through which the participation of weaker stakeholders can be ensured for standards of exceptional public interest.


ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, said: “the Report acknowledges that European Standardisation must promote the welfare of European citizens as well as continuing to aid European trade and competitiveness. We urge the Parliament to endorse it”.



ANEC in brief


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:

Contact: Stephen Russell
Tel: +32 (0)2 743 2470