Brussels, 11th March 2008
Standardisation can make an important contribution to the development of sustainable industrial policy, unlock the potential of innovative markets and strengthen the position of European economy through more efficient capitalising of its knowledge basis. These are the main conclusions of a European Commission communication “Towards an increased contribution from standardisation to innovation in Europe” published today. It identifies the most important challenges faced, presents concrete objectives for standardisation and the use of standards, and consolidates on-going efforts and proposed measures to be launched both by relevant stakeholders and by the Commission. The communication identifies key elements for focusing EU standardisation policy on innovation such as commitment to market-led standardisation and to the voluntary use of standards, inclusion of new knowledge in standards or access to standardisation of all interested stakeholders, in particular small and medium enterprises, but also consumers and researchers.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy said: “The success of the European standardisation system in removing technical barriers to trade has played a vital role in ensuring the free movement of goods between Member States. A strong role for Europe in international standardisation means European leadership in new markets and gaining first-mover advantages in global markets ".
Standardisation must adapt to growing international competition in standards-setting from emerging powers, who consider standardisation an important strategic asset. Faced with this background, the Commission proposes to Member States, industry, users, standards bodies and other stakeholders key elements for focusing EU standardisation policy in support of innovation and competitiveness. The intention is increase the impact of Europe in global standardisation, to facilitate the inclusion of new knowledge in standards, to make effective the access to standardisation to all stakeholders, in particular to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), to accelerate the uptake of standards by users, and to reform the infrastructure and procedures of European standardisation in order to render it more supportive to innovation.
As a result, the EU expects standardisation to make an important contribution to the following priority actions for innovation and competitiveness:
Standardisation is a voluntary cooperation among industry, consumers
and public authorities for the development of technical specifications based on
consensus. In the EU standards are developed by the European Standards
Organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI contributing to the EU’s Better
Regulation policy as a key element in keeping EU legislation simple and limiting
it to the essential elements for the protection of public interests such as
health and safety of citizens.