A standard (French: norme, German: Norm) is a document that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, for common and repeated use. Standards are created by bringing together all interested parties including manufacturers, users, consumers and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service. Everyone benefits from standardization through increased product safety and quality as well as lower transaction costs and prices.
Each European Standard is identified by a unique reference code which contains the letters 'EN'. A European Standard is a standard that has been adopted by one of the three recognized European Standardization Organizations (ESOs): CEN, CENELEC or ETSI. It is produced by all interested parties through a transparent, open and consensus based process.
European Standards are a key component of the Single European Market. Although rather technical and mostly unknown to the public and media, they represent one of the most important issues for businesses. Often perceived as boring and not particularly relevant to some organizations, they are actually crucial in facilitating trade and hence have high visibility among manufacturers inside and outside Europe. Standards provide individuals, businesses and all kinds or organizations with a common basis for mutual understanding. A standard represents a model specification, a technical solution against which a market can trade. It codifies best practice and is usually state of the art.
In essence, European Standards relate to products, services or systems. Today, however, standards are no longer created only for technical reasons but have also become enablers for greater social inclusiveness and engagement with technology, as well as convergence and interoperability within growing markets across industries.
More information is available in BOSS - Business Operation Support System.