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"EU standardisation strategy needs above all practical relevance"


01 Feb 2022


Global Europe

With a new standardisation strategy, the EU Commission wants to put Europe in a better position in global technology competition. However, political ideas must not dominate this approach. Good standardisation needs above all expertise from industry and practical relevance.  

Brussels/Frankfurt, 1. February 2022 - With a new strategy for standardisation, the EU Commission wants to ensure that the EU continues to play a role in determining the technical rules of the game worldwide - especially in the field of future technologies. In the view of the VDMA, however, this must not result in a policy-driven standardisation system, but must build on the successful practice- and industry-driven standardisation.       

"It is good that the EU Commission has recognised the strategic importance of standardisation. In the mechanical and plant engineering sector, too, we are observing that China in particular is making increasing use of the international standardisation organisations to push through its own solutions and gain competitive advantages," analyses Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Managing Director of the VDMA. "It is important, however, that this strategy does not come at the expense of the tried and tested principles of standardisation, in which the companies' experts contribute with their knowledge and ensure that the standards are practically relevant. It is precisely the commitment of the companies organised in the VDMA at all levels of standardisation, as well as in future topics such as the development of the world language of production based on OPC UA technology, that shows the trump card we hold in our hands. It is therefore absolutely necessary to link the geopolitically motivated EU strategy with the proven, market-driven bottom-up processes," Rauen demands. Standards primarily define technical specification, taking into account the current state of the art. Added value for industry and society does not come from policy ideas, but from the use of market-relevant standards in companies.

Furthermore, it must not be forgotten - despite all the importance of future technologies - that harmonised standards ensure uniform requirements and thus economies of scale in the EU internal market - which currently does not always work well. "The process of standardisation, from mandating, drafting, evaluation to publication in the EU Official Journal, must be put in order and accelerated," Rauen demands. "For this, however, the EU does not need a revision of the standardisation regulation. Rather, it must eliminate formalistic requirements and superfluous reviews. Done well, the European system of harmonised standards is an essential building block of a modern and innovation-friendly regulatory framework. However, the industry must regain confidence in the system - and that can only be done through participation and reliability," sums up the VDMA Deputy Managing Director.


A photo of Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Managing Director of the VDMA, can be found here.

Do you have any questions? Dr Gerhard Steiger, Head of the Standardisation Department, will be happy to answer them:, phone +49 69 6603-1341

The VDMA represents more than 3,400 German and European companies of the mechanical engineering industry. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and medium-sized businesses. The companies employ around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany. Mechanical and plant engineering represents a European turnover volume of around 800 billion euros. With a net value added of around 270 billion euros, it contributes the highest share of the entire manufacturing sector to the European gross domestic product.