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Brussels, 17 December 2001

More European electronic standards available free of charge on-line

The European Commission has welcomed the decision of the European Committee for Standardisation CEN to follow the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in publishing electronic standards on-line and free of charge from January 2002. This decision is part of the "eEurope Standards Action Plan", which is aimed at benefiting entrepreneurs by ensuring that new technology standards are sufficiently well-defined to make sure that information and communication technology (ICT) systems are inter-operable. e-Europe Action Plan standardisation work is sponsored by the Commission and carried out by European standards organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. More than 3000 experts are currently actively involved in this work, which provides a dynamic open platform for consensus-building that is attracting growing interest from other regions in the world. eEurope standards are defined in workshops whose agreements will be made available for downloading free of charge from the CEN web site. This decision is a major step towards better disseminating European standards and fostering eEurope.

Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said: "The eEurope Standards Action Plan is a major contribution towards ensuring that more European companies go on-line and use the Internet to grow and innovate. It is not enough to agree on standards action must follow if they are to make an impact. The launch of the eEurope Standardisation web site and free availability of standards that relate to e-business are significant steps to further promote European standards in Europe and elsewhere."

eEurope Standards Action Plan: Partnership between public and private sector

The eEurope Standards Action Plan is a good example of partnership between the public and private sectors. It brings together experts from different fields, such as e-signature, e-learning, e-accessibility, e-security, Internet access and smart cards, to prepare for practical solutions in support of eEurope. The European Commission is supporting the implementation of the Plan to accelerate standardisation work and to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are participating in the process.

The free availability for downloading of eEurope-related deliverables, is an important step towards building a strong European standardisation community. In particular, it provides incentives to make the most of European standards for business solutions, thus fostering the creation of eEurope. These new methods of defining and disseminating standards should provide a useful model for other areas of Commission activity.

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