European standardization & the EU Single Market 

European Standards respond to the needs of the industry while meeting consumer expectations, and contribute to the consolidation of the European Single Market by placing widely accepted products and services on the market.

European standardization, a recognized system to support the European Single Market

In the European Standardization System (ESS), standards development is the result of a long-standing and successful cooperation among all interested actors including industry, SMEs, consumer organizations and societal stakeholders, as well as policy makers. As such, the ESS is a unique system, where standards are established through the consensus of all stakeholders, and published by the recognized European Standardization Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI).

The Cooperation between the European Standardization Organizations and the EU – a strong public partnership for the Single Market

The European Standardization Organizations (ESOs), the European Commission (EC), and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have been working together since 1973. This partnership still provides nowadays one of the key elements necessary to complete the Single Market, and by extension the Digital Single Market. European Standards have supported the introduction of new products, helped innovation and boosted competitiveness.

The EU Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardization lays down the principles of this public-private partnership and clarifies the role of standards play in assisting the delivery of EU public policy.

The New Legislative Framework (NLF) and Harmonized Standards

The NLF was set in 2008 based on Regulation 765/2008/EC setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products, and a Decision 768/2008, which is used as a cast for all future product harmonisation legislation. This package of measures aimed to improve market surveillance and boost the quality of conformity assessments.

The NLF consist of a set of Directives and Regulations, which define essential requirements that products must meet before they can be placed on the European market. These essential requirements are generally health, safety or environmental-related.

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI enable an accessible and affordable mean for businesses to comply with relevant Directives and Regulations through the development of Harmonized Standards (HS) which are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). In the CEN and CENELEC portfolio of more than 20 000 European Standards, in April 2018 16% were cited or to be cited in the OJEU. This particularity of the ESOs offers to over 500 million European consumers the confidence and trust in the products and services placed on the European market.

Next challenges: Delivering the EU Digital Single Market

European Standards are key contributors for the development of the EU Digital Single Market tackling fields of work such as additive manufacturing, blockchain, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. To reflect this growing digital trend, CEN and CENELEC have adopted in 2017 a Strategic Plan for Digital Transformation.

Furthermore, in the recent ‘Communication on ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market’ (COM(2016)176) adopted on 19 April 2016 as part of the package on "Digitising European Industry", ICT standards are recognized as a cornerstone of the Digital Single Market.

The role of European Standards for the Single Market is therefore more than ever relevant. With our campaign on ‘European standardization & the EU Single Market’ we want to share with you some of the success stories and the ongoing standardization developments linked to our work, and showcase what European Standards have done for the Single Market.