The European Standardization System is the result of a long-standing and successful cooperation among various actors including: business and industry, public authorities, consumer organizations and other societal stakeholders.

European standards are playing an important role in the development and consolidation of the European Single Market and they also support the implementation of various European policies and pieces of legislation (EU Directives).

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI are recognized by the European Union as European Standardization Organizations, which means that they can develop and publish European Standards to support the implementation of European policies and legislation.

The European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) cooperate closely with the European Commission and with the secretariat of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The legal framework for this cooperation is set out in EU Regulation 1025/2012, which entered into force on 1 January 2013.

The relationship between standardization and legislation at European level has been successfully developed in accordance with the so-called 'New Approach' to technical harmonization and standards, which was introduced in 1985.

Around one-third of all the work that is undertaken by CEN is developed in response to standardization requests (Mandates) issued by the European Commission. This mandated work leads to the publication of European Standards and other publications that support the successful implementation of EU policies and legislation.

Between 15% and 20% of European Standards published by CEN are so-called 'harmonized standards'. Any products or services that are produced or provided in accordance with these harmonized standards are presumed to conform with the essential requirements that are set out in the relevant EU Directives.