On 12th October 2022, Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on rules to strengthen EU’s role as a global standard-setter.
The purpose of the updated standardisation regulation is to strengthen and modernise the governance of the European standardisation system.
Standards give confidence that a product or a service is fit for purpose, is safe, and will not harm people or the environment. Compliance with harmonised standards guarantees that products placed on the single market are in line with EU law.
European standards must be decided by European bodies
European standardisation organisations (ESOs) - CEN, CENELEC and ETSI - have an exclusive role in carrying out standardisation work requested by the Commission in the interest, policy objectives, and values of the EU.
The rules agreed today aim to strengthen the ESO’s governance structures by requiring decisions concerning European standards following mandates from the Commission to be taken only by national standardisations bodies from the EU and EEA member states. This will reinforce the role of member states and avoid the undue influence of foreign actors during the development of standards for key areas, like cybersecurity or hydrogen fuel.
Balanced stakeholder representation
Parliament negotiators introduced further clarifications to strengthen the representation of relevant stakeholders, like SMEs and civil society organisations. They also added provisions to keep the ESO’s open to participants from national standardisation organisations of countries joining the EU, candidate countries and countries, which have formally become members of the ESOs in question.
EP lead negotiator Svenja Hahn (Renew, DE) said: “Standard setting is crucial for the future of our single market and for European society. Standards are not only technical details, but can also be a political instrument. The final outcome of the inter-institutional negotiations is important for the implementation of the EU’s standardisation strategy. The European Parliament, Commission and Council agreed that standard setting must remain a process that involves a broad cross-section of stakeholders. We will continue to make sure that the public interest and European values are not undermined in this process, and this commitment is reflected in the final text.”
On 2 February 2022, the Commission presented a new standardisation strategy outlining its approach to standards in the single market and globally. Along with the proposal to amend the Regulation on standardisation, agreed today, a report on its implementation, and the 2022 annual Union work programme for European standardisation were also published.
Standards play a critical role in tackling the challenges facing European industries. They are essential for the data economy and ensure that new technologies reflect our democratic values. As a global standard-setter, the EU also exports best practices and increases synergies in global value chains. This enhances trade flows and opportunities for European businesses to scale up their activities. EU standards are synonymous with quality around the world.