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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Key players in European Standardisation

European standardisation is a consensus-building process that involves many players. As the development of standards is mainly initiated by market needs, industry plays an important role. European standards are then developed through one of the three European Standards Organisations: the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

ESOs - The European Standardisation Organisations

The European Standardisation Organisations are officially recognised by Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 as providers of European standards. CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI have been working with the European Commission since 1984, when a cooperation agreement was signed. Revised in 2003, it lays down general guidelines for cooperation.


The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) brings together the national standardization bodies of 33 European countries. It provides a platform for the development of European standards and other technical documents on various types of products, materials, services, and processes. These include air and space, chemicals, construction and more.


The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) is responsible for standardisation in the electro-technical engineering field. Voluntary standards prepared by CENELEC help facilitate trade between countries, access new markets, cut compliance costs, and support the development of the EU single market. CENELEC also creates market access at international level through its close collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).


The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces globally-applicable standards for information and communications technology (ICT). These standards also include fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast, and internet technologies. ETSI's purpose is to produce and maintain the technical standards required by its members.

In the case of ETSI, industry can get involved directly in the process of standards development. However, industry can only access CEN and CENELEC through the national standardisation bodies.

Other stakeholders involved in European standardisation

  • National standardisation bodies (NSBs) of EU and EFTA countries are responsible for developing European consensus
  • small and medium-sized enterprises’ representation is reinforced by the non-profit organisation, Small Business Standards
  • consumer, trade union and environmental interests are represented by ANEC, ETUC and ECOS, who are important for accountability
  • public authorities develop standards-receptive legislation, issue standardisation mandates and public procurement, and provide funding to the ESOs and the NSBs.

How to get involved in the creation of Standards?

Those interested can get involved in the creation of standards by contacting one of the ESOs or the NSBs.