European Commission affirms importance of standards for innovation and increased quality and safety

In its recent report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission (EC) reaffirmed its position on the implementation of EU standardisation policy and the contribution of European standards to EU policies. The EC reports the contribution of standards to EU policies (1) to promote innovation; (2) to increase quality, safety, security and sustainability of goods and services; (3) to enable job creation and growth; (4) to support global value chains and (5) to prevent fragmentation in the Single Market. It provides the state of play on the Joint Initiative on Standardisation, and measures taken to strengthen the inclusiveness of the European Standardisation System (ESS).

The economic landscape is changing within the EU and among its international trading partners. Boundaries between traditional manufacturing, digitisation and services are increasingly blurring and the digital solutions are progressively integrated into global industrial value chains. In the face of these challenges, the Commission should translate this economic reality into its standardisation priorities for European policies and legislations, together with the inter-institutional partners. In the Communication “European standards for the 21st century“, in June 2016, the Commission presented a new vision for European Standardisation System (ESS) to meet these challenges.

The new vision, spelled out in the Communication goes beyond the traditional way of dealing with standards at EU level which in the past was limited to technical support for EU harmonisation needs. The new vision focuses on the contribution of standardisation to the 5 societal challenges and European policies described above.

Jointly set policy priorities for European standardisation will enhance the streamlining of standardisation work in future legislative processes. Achieving the targets of the EU standardisation policy requires a common understanding and the active participation of all actors of the ESS: enhancing inclusiveness, increasing awareness of the importance of standardisation in the economy and the society, improving the procedures for the assessment of the harmonised standards, implementing the five ICT standardisation priorities (see above) and tackling the obstacles in the services sector.

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