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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Standardisation policy

Standardisation has played a leading role in creating the EU Single Market. Standards support market-based competition and help ensure the interoperability of complementary products and services. They reduce costs, improve safety, and enhance competition. Due to their role in protecting health, safety, security, and the environment, standards are important to the public. The EU has an active standardisation policy that promotes standards as a way to better regulation and enhance the competitiveness of European industry.

Evolution of standardisation policy in the EU

The Joint Initiative on Standardisation

The Joint Initiative on Standardisation, as foreseen under the Single Market Strategy, sets out an innovative way of achieving priorities through an open public-private co-operation.

In the standardisation package of 1 June 2016, the Commission sets out its vision for a single and efficient standardisation policy that adapts to the changing environment, supports multiple policies and brings benefits to companies, consumers and workers alike.

The Annual Union Work Programme for European standardisation

Each year the European Commission publishes an Annual Work Programme for European standardisation. The programme lays down the Commission’s intentions to use standardisation in support of new or existing legislation and policies. These intentions may lead to formal standardisation requests (mandates). The obligation to identify strategic priorities for European Standardisation for the upcoming year comes from Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012.

The list of national standardisation bodies

The latest list of national standardisation bodies was published on 4 July 2023 (see also the May 2022 Update, the March 2020 update, the October 2017 update, the September 2014 update, and the original September 2013 list). The lists identify 37 bodies that are subject to requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012

  • Article 3 Transparency of work programmes of standardisation bodies
  • Article 4 Transparency of standards
  • Article 6 Access of SMEs to standards
  • Article 15 and 17 regarding union financing

Regulation on European standardisation 2012

The Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 aims to improve the procedure involved in setting European standards to make it faster and more inclusive. It was adopted in October 2012.

More Standards for Europe and faster (2011)

In 2011, the Commission proposed a series of measures to strengthen the system of standard-setting:

  • enhancing its cooperation with the leading standardisation organisations in Europe;
  • drafting European standards with the help of organisations representing those most affected, e.g. consumers, small businesses (SMEs), environmental and social organisations;
  • recognising the importance of the Global ICT standards that will play a more prominent role in the EU;
  • increasing the number of European standards for services if there is a demand from business.

Some of these actions will be implemented immediately, while others need the approval of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Vademecum on European Standardisation

Vademecum on European Standardisation is a compilation of key documents from the Commission on European standardisation policy and related practice. It provides guidance without having legal status.