Services account for between 60 and 70% of the economic activity in the 27 Member States of the European Union. For this reason, the creation of a single market for services has become a top priority for Europe.
Standardization is essential for a single market for services
Standardization is increasingly being used to support the development of the single market for services. Service standards can be used to promote best practices and to spread knowledge throughout the market. Standards can also set benchmarks against which businesses can measure the quality and perfomance of their own services or the services they are purchasing, thus improving competitiveness and increasing efficiency.
The role of standardization in the creation of an Internal Market for services has been recognised by the Directive on Services (2006/123). The Directive encourages the development of European standards to faciliate compatibility between services, information to the recipient and quality of service provision. The Commission Communication COM (2011) 311 on a Strategic vision for European Standards, also highlights the role of service standardization in support of the internal market for services.
The European Commission supports service standardization by issuing mandates (a request to develop specific standards or to propose a standardization programme) to CEN in this area. In response to Programming Mandate M/371 in the field of services, CEN carried out in 2007-2008, 11 projects to assess the benefits and feasibility of standardization in different services fields. More information on these projects can be obtained from the Feasibility studies section. A complete list of mandates related to services can be found in the Documents section.
CEN is developing or has developed standards in B2B and B2B services. More information on the service areas covered by the different CEN technical and project committees can be obtained by looking at the Work programme in the services area and under Latest news.
In addition to standardization activities in specific sectors, there is a CEN Technical Board Working Group dealing with horizontal topics related to standardization in services. BT/WG 214 'Strategic Advisory Group on Services' (SAGS)