HomeInsightsEuropean Commission announces new Standardisation Strategy

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The Commission has presented a new Standardisation Strategy outlining its approach to standards within the Single Market as well as globally. The Strategy is accompanied by a proposal to amend the Regulation on Standardisation (1025/2012/EU), a report on its implementation, and the 2022 annual Union work programme for European standardisation. The new Strategy aims to strengthen the EU’s global competitiveness, enable a resilient, green and digital economy, and enshrine democratic values in technology applications.

The Commission explains that a harmonised standard is a European standard developed by a recognised European Standards Organisation, such as ETSI, following a request from the Commission. Once accepted, standards become part of EU law and provide manufacturers across the Single Market with a presumption of conformity with the requirements of EU legislation. In the Commission’s view, the fast pace of innovation, the EU’s green and digital ambitions and the implications of technological standards for EU democratic values require an increasingly strategic approach to standardisation.

The Strategy proposes five key actions:

  1. anticipate, prioritise and address standardisation needs in strategic areas: the Commission says that the EU needs standards faster and in tune with the EU innovation and policy agenda; standardisation priorities will be clearly identified in the 2022 annual Union Work Programme for European standardisation, and a High-Level Forum will be set up to inform future standardisation priorities; the Commission will also establish the office of a Chief Standardisation Officer to ensure high-level guidance on standardisation activities, which will be supported by an EU excellence hub on standards;
  2. improve the governance and integrity of the European standardisation system: European standards, which support EU policy and legislation, must be decided by Europeans; the Commission is proposing amending the Regulation on Standardisation to improve governance in the system; mandates at the request of the Commission to European standardisation organisations must be handled by national standardisation bodies from the EU and EEA Member States to avoid any undue outside influence during the development of standards for key areas, such as cybersecurity; the system must also be inclusive and involve SMEs and civil society; European standardisation organisations will therefore need to modernise their governance structures; the Commission will also launch an evaluation of the Regulation;
  3. enhance European leadership in global standards: the Commission will work, through the High-Level Forum, to set up a new mechanism with EU Member States and national standardisation bodies to share information, coordinate and strengthen the European approach to international standardisation; the Commission will also pursue more coordination between EU Member States and like-minded partners;
  4. support innovation: the Commission is proposing to tap into the potential of EU-funded research to valorise innovation projects through standardisation activities and anticipate early standardisation needs; it will launch a “standardisation booster” to support researchers under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe to test the relevance of their results for standardisation; by mid-2022, it will develop a Code of Practice for researchers on standardisation to strengthen the link between standardisation and research/innovation through the European Research Area (ERA); and
  5. enable the next generation of standardisation experts: the Commission will promote more academic awareness on standards, e.g., through the future organisation of EU University Days and training of researchers.

To access the Strategy, click here.