Brexit and standardization: A transition period

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To guarantee the stability of the European standardization system, and to ensure legal security and technical and political continuity for all the experts taking part in production of the European standards, the CEN and CENELEC decided, at their General Meetings on 23 November, to apply a transition period between the date of Brexit (scheduled for 29 March 2019) and 31 December 2020.

The purpose of this decision is to provide BSI with a derogation from the currently applying criteria so that it may retain its status as Member until the end of 2020. This has several implications:

•BSI will retain all its rights but also its obligations: in particular, the right to take part in the work and to vote on draft standards, and the obligation to transpose them into its national standards system and cancel any conflicting national standards.

•The role of British chairpersons, secretaries, coordinators and stakeholders involved in the work is not brought into question.

The question of weighted voting rules could require further clarification. For example, when, following a weighted formal vote, the final draft is disapproved, the votes are systematically counted a second time. This second count excludes those countries which are not members of the European Economic Area, i.e. currently Switzerland, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. If the draft standard is enacted following this second count, the excluded countries which voted against it are exempted from the obligation to transpose it into their national standards system. The purpose of this rule is not to establish different categories of members (the distinction between member and non-member of the EEA appears nowhere else in the statutes or rules), but precisely to take into account the specific features of the EEA where the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons applies. At present, the question as to whether and when the United Kingdom will leave the EEA cannot be confirmed with any certainty. Accordingly, the question of whether or not to include BSI in the second count cannot be settled, whether in relation to the EEA or by derogation.

The aim of the deliberations that will begin from 2019 will therefore be to find the right balance between British participation and protection of the fundamental values of the European standardization system.

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