Faster and more effective standardisation

MEPs in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament voted on 21 June in favour of a compromise agreement with the European Council on a new regulation modernising the EU standardisation system. The agreement still needs to be finally approved by the European Council and the Parliament as a whole, but it means that the process should be faster, with greater involvement of small firms and other stakeholders in the development of standards. CEPI welcomes the progress made towards agreement made on the new regulation.

The new regulation lays down rules on cooperation between national and European standardisation bodies and the European Commission. The aim is to ensure a clear division of responsibilities avoid administrative snags and prevent the emergence of incompatible or contradictory standards. It stipulates that European standards prevail over national ones, sets concrete deadlines for developing standards mandated by the Commission and asks that annual work programmes be published for all standardisation bodies to ensure that the system works transparently and consistently.

The main change introduced by the Parliament in the negotiations was to include a “notification system” to ensure that stakeholders are consulted at all stages of the development of standards. The deal also aims to spread the use of standards in the services sector, to improve the transparency and comparability of services, build trust and spur growth. The new regulation contains services within its scope, although standards will remain voluntary.