The standardization community and public authorities sometimes strive towards similar - even common - objectives, especially at European level. These objectives include: developing the Single Market, enhancing competitiveness, facilitating global trade, improving the welfare of citizens and protecting the environment. It is therefore not surprising that standardization bodies cooperate with public authorities in a number of cases by developing standards in support of legislation and public policies.
European Standards offer an accessible and affordable means for businesses to comply with relevant European legislation. By making the correct use of harmonized standards, businesses and other organizations can ensure that they comply with the requirements of EU Directives, for example with regard to the safety of a particular product or service.
Read the 'Policy opinions' on the CEN-CENELEC Website.
Standardization is not the same as legislation
Standards are developed through a process of collaboration among stakeholders and they are approved and published by recognized standardization bodies. Regulations and other types of legislation are adopted by governments at national or regional level, or by supranational and/or inter-governmental organizations such as the European Union. Moreover, the use of standards is voluntary whereas regulations are legally enforceable.
Standards can facilitate compliance with legislation
The relationship between standardization and legislation at European level has been developed in accordance with the so-called 'New Approach' to technical harmonization and standards, which was introduced in 1985.
European Commission's standardization requests (European Mandates)
Mandates are the mechanism by which the European Commission (EC) and the secretariat of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) request the European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) to develop and adopt European standards in support of European policies and legislation.