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Communication on a strategic vision for European Standards and the proposal for a regulation on European Standardization


06 Jun 2011


Innovation & Enterprise
Climate & Environment

The much awaited Communication on a strategic vision for European Standards and the proposal for a Regulation on European Standardization was released today by Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, in the Berlaymont building of the European Commission. Reverberations are expected to be felt across the industry and the services sector, the latter being the big newcomer to be integrated, wherever possible, into the standardization process, not least because the proposal is now in the legal form of a Regulation, making it immediately enforceable, if approved by the European Parliament, as law in all Member States simultaneously.

Prior to the Press Conference, Mr Tajani said that:

“To be successful, Europe needs to react to the challenge of rapid innovation, sustainability, convergence of technologies, and fierce global competition. A dynamic European standardization system is essential to spur quality and innovation and to strengthen Europe’s role as a global economic player. Moreover, standards allow us all to have the best quality and sustainable products for a lower price. Standardisation is also a key issue for the well functioning of our internal market”.

Indeed, in these trying economic times, now more than ever, standards can offer a real breath of fresh air and bring a new, more than welcome stimulus to trade, at European and international levels. It is therefore in everyone’s benefit to provide as much input as possible into the creation of European Standards, one that will respect the principles of consensus, transparency and inclusiveness so vital to our Standardization System.

By reducing technical barriers to trade and ensuring interoperability, standards enhance trade opportunities while making a product or service more likely to be sold on new markets, generating potentially enormous benefits. Agreeing on standards at the European and international levels is essential to prevent, or at least minimize aggressive or protectionist international strategies led by emerging new and influential economic countries. Mr Tajani stressed the importance of European Standards going beyond the EU by saying that: “Il est important d’avoir de bonnes normes en Europe pour aider l’internationalisation de nos entreprises” (It is important to have good standards in Europe to support the international activities of our companies).

In order to do so, we must: “faire accepter nos standards au-delà de l’UE” (make our standards accepted beyond the borders of the EU).

To this effect, the European Commission will enhance its cooperation with the leading standardization organizations in Europe, namely CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, strongly encouraging and supporting the latter three in making standards available more quickly, with an ambitious goal of halving the production time of standards by 2020!
Present at the Press Conference, Mrs Elena Santiago Cid, CEN-CENELEC Director General said:

“CEN and CENELEC, two of the three European Standards Organizations (ESOs) officially recognized by the European Commission, fully welcome the “package”. We must see it as a good impulse to make the European Standardization System smarter and more inclusive.

Our major goal is to increase our contribution to the competitiveness of the European Industry, to consolidate our international leadership and to promote European innovative technologies in the global market. We are confident that the package will provide the right framework to support these goals.”

It was the European Commission that requested a reform of the European Standardization System (ESS) in order to make it more reactive to innovation and more supportive to the competitiveness of EU enterprises in 2008. It is now fully included as a tool towards achieving the Europe 2020 goals. Since, the ESOs have done their best to support the Commission in its review of the Standardization policy.

Click here to read the entire docuement.