Council and European Parliament agree on adapting EU standardisation rules

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The Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on 12 October on the Commission proposal to amend the European standardisation regulation (No 1025/2012). This amendment aims to preserve the principles of good governance in the delivery of standards requested by the European Commission.

Indeed, the situation today is very different from that of the 1980s. When the European Standards Organisations were set up and their role in the development of standards was defined, the system was mainly focused on EU stakeholders. Today, the three European standards organisations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) cooperate with a wide range of stakeholders, including from outside the EU. However, some large companies from China or the United States hold the majority of votes and thus have an excessive, even “abusive” influence in the development of the mainly ETSI (telecommunications) standards that govern the European single market.

The Commission wants to regain control of the process
“Safeguards are needed to ensure a sound procedure and a balanced representation of stakeholders’ interests, in line with policy priorities and legislative needs.” This applies in particular to the acceptance of standardisation requests or new work items and the adoption, revision or withdrawal of European standardisation products, as requested by the Commission.

For the Council, the most important aspects of the proposed amendment to the Regulation were:

For the Council, the most important aspects were:

  • to ensure the exclusive participation of representatives of national standardisation bodies in the decision-making processes concerning European standards and European standardisation deliverables
  • to confirm the important role of stakeholders in the standardisation process
  • to clarify the role of third countries in the decision-making process.

”Improving the governance and integrity of the European standardisation system” is one of the five axes of the European Standardisation Strategy. Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, presented the Strategy on 2 February 2022. He said: ”We were open by default, we must now be open on our terms”.

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