The European standardization system is led by three European standardization bodies: CEN- European Committee for Standardization; CENELEC – European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and ETSI – European Telecommunications Standards Institute. These organizations provide a standardization framework to create voluntary standards that help to develop the Single European market for goods and services. By creating standards, these European Standards Organizations (ESOs) help facilitate trade between countries, create new markets and cut compliance costs. European Standards are unique and give manufacturers and service providers direct access to the market. They create competitive advantage, inspire trust and reduce business cost whilst opening markets.
The European Standardization System is a coherent system based on the principle of national delegation: CEN and CENELEC‘s members are national standards organizations; ETSI is based on direct participation of industry and also takes into account national votes on European standards. When CEN or CENELEC elaborate a European Standard they set up a European technical committee under the responsibility of one of its members and consisting of other national members. All interested parties at national level (enterprises, consumers, public authorities, NGOs, etc.) can participate in “National Mirror Committees”. These National Mirror Committees elaborate a national position for the drafting and balloting of a European standard, which is then presented at the European technical committee.
The work done by ETSI is carried out in committees and working groups composed of technical experts from the Institute’s member companies and organizations. These committees are often referred to as “Technical Bodies”. For certain urgent items of work ETSI may also convene small groups of technical experts (Specialist Task Forces) usually seconded from ETSI members, to work intensively over a period of time, typically a few months, to accelerate the drafting work.
CEN, CENELEC, ETSI, the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association adopted and signed on 28 March 2003 General guidelines for the co-operation with the European Standards Organizations. Those guidelines confirm the partner’s commitment to principles such as openness, transparency and impartiality, and their willingness to cooperate, on the basis of these principles, in support of European policies. Those developments in policy have encouraged wider participation in European standards-making by non-governmental economic and societal stakeholders, and has generated greater openness of the European standard-setting process. As a result, all sectors of society now benefit greatly from this efficient and well-structured European standardization framework, based upon the three independent ESOs.
Moreover, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI have increased their joint international visibility actions. A joint External Relations Committee has been setup under the supervision of the Joint Presidents Group. This Committee is responsible for the coordination of external relations activities requiring common policies. Through such joint initiatives, the ESOs are responding to globalization and the convergence of technologies and promoting the European Standardization System as a model to follow in other regions and countries outside Europe.
European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is a business facilitator in Europe, removing trade barriers for European industry and consumers. Its mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment. Through its services it provides a platform for the development of European Standards and other technical specifications. CEN has 31 National members, 6 associates and 19 affiliates. In 2010 it had produced 1090 documents, had 299 active Technical Committees (TCs), 26 active CEN Workshops, 57 sub-committees and 1411 Working Groups (WGs).
CEN is a major provider of European Standards and technical specifications. It is the only recognized European organization according to Directive 98/34/EC for the planning, drafting and adoption of European Standards in all areas of economic activity with the exception of electrotechnology (CENELEC) and telecommunication (ETSI).
CEN’s 31 National members work together to develop voluntary European standards. These standards have a unique status since they also are national standards in each of its 31 Member countries. With one common standard in all these countries and every conflicting national standard withdrawn, a product can reach a far wider market with much lower development and testing costs. European Standards help build a European Internal Market for goods and services and position Europe in the global economy. More than 60.000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and other societal interest organizations are involved in the CEN network that reaches almost 500 million people.
In 1991 CEN and International Organization for Standardization(ISO) signed the Vienna Agreement recognizing the primacy of international standards and with the intention to adopt international standards in Europe whenever possible. This way there would be no duplication of work, however there would be increased exchange of information between ISO and CEN and adoption of ISO standards as European Standards. In 2009, 27% of CEN standards were identical to ISO standards.
For more information see: www.cen.eu
European Committee for Electrotechnical
The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) was created in 1973 as a result of the merger of two previous European organizations: CENELCOM and CENEL. Nowadays, CENELEC is a non-profit technical organization set up under Belgian law and composed of the National Electrotechnical Committees of 31 European countries. In addition, 12 National Committees from neighboring countries are participating in CENELEC work with an Affiliate status. In 2010, CENELEC had 73 TCs or sub-committees, 249 WGs, 24 BT task forces and WGs, totaling all together in 346 technical bodies.
CENELEC’s mission is to prepare voluntary electrotechnical standards that help develop the Single European Market/European Economic Area for electrical and electronic goods and services removing barriers to trade, creating new markets and cutting compliance costs. A Resolution of 7th May 1985 of the European Council formally endorsed the principle of reference to European standards within the relevant European regulatory work (Directives), thereby paving the way to a New Approach in the philosophy of regulations and standards in Europe. In the light of this New Approach, CENELEC is developing and achieving a coherent set of voluntary electrotechnical standards as a basis for the creation of the Single European Market/European Economic Area without internal frontiers for goods and services.
In a world like today’s where markets become global and products are being sold worldwide, CENELEC makes sure that the majority of its Standards are identical to the Standards developed by the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission. This is achieved thanks to the intense cooperation between both organizations, laid down in the Dresden Agreement, and through the participation of CENELEC members directly in IEC work. In overall terms, 82% of CENELEC Standards are identical to or based upon IEC’s.
For more information see: www.cenelec.eu
CEN-CENELEC Management Centre (CCMC)
The close collaboration between CEN and CENELEC was consolidated by the creation of a common CEN-CENELEC Management Centre (CCMC) at the beginning of 2010, thus replacing CENELEC Central Secretariat and CEN Management Centre. The CCMC, located in Brussels, is in charge of the daily operations, coordination and promotion of all CEN and CENELEC activities. CCMC acts as a permanent office responsible for handling the tasks assigned by the General Assemblies, the Administrative Boards and the Technical Boards and is responsible for correspondence and liaison with the services of the European Commission and the EFTA Secretariat.
For more information see:
European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies. It is a not-for-profit organization based in Sophia Antipolis, South of France. Unlike the membership of CEN and CENELEC, which is based on representation of national standardization organizations, ETSI has a direct membership policy of any company or organization with an interest in the creation of telecommunications standards. As of today it has 740 member organizations drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents world-wide. It has 2PPS, 45 Technical committees and more than 95 working groups as well as over 7000 industry experts.
ETSI is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. It has made a very significant contribution to European legislation by producing many Harmonized Standards to be used in the application of European Directives and supporting EU and EFTA policy issues such as the “New Approach”, other EU legislation (e.g. Electronic Fee Collection, the interoperability regulation under the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, the Electronic Communication Network and Services Framework Directives), mandated activity and other EU initiatives (e.g. eEurope and i2010).
Going beyond Europe’s borders, ETSI is a world-renowned organization with a solid reputation for technical excellence. It makes its expertise in interoperability, and the standardization of some of today’s most important technologies, available to its Members and customers through a range of services for growing ideas and enabling technologies. There can be little argument that ETSI’s most significant technical success to date has been GSMTM, Global System for Mobile Communications. Introduced as a digital cellular technology to replace a plethora of incompatible analogue systems in Europe, GSM has become a global success, serving over two billion users in more that 200 countries world-wide. This has been the base for the 3rd Generation of mobile which has been developed by ETSI in partnership with other regions under the umbrella of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPPTM).
In recent years ETSI has activated its cooperation with China: in October 2008 it concluded a Cooperation agreement between with the China Electronic Standardization Institute (CESI). In April 2009 the first ETSI “Plugtest” event for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in postal applications took place in Beijing, supported by the EU-China Infosociety Project facility. In May 2010 ETSI together with the Beijing Internet Institute (BII) Group held a conference for users of the test specification language TTCN-3 in Beijing. TTCN-3 was developed by ETSI and is the only standardized test specification language. China has a long history as a user of TTCN-3 and currently contains the language’s largest user community.
For more information see: www.etsi.org
Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry
(DG ENTR) of the European Commission
In line with the EU’s growth strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the coming decade “Europe 2020”, the Directorate General Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) is working towards five general objectives:
1) Strengthen Europe’s industrial base and promote the transition to a low carbon economy;
2) Promote innovation as a means to generate new sources of growth;
3) Encourage the creation and growth of SMEs and promote an entrepreneurial culture;
4) Ensure an open internal market for goods;
5) Support the European presence in space.
DG ENTR contributes to the implementation of the “Europe 2020” strategy in particular via two flagship actions. The first one is called “An Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era” and was adopted on 28 October 2010. Its target is to improve the business environment, particularly for SMEs, and to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base able to compete globally. One of the 10 key actions for European industrial competitiveness is related to standardization, acknowledging that it is necessary to strengthen European standardization in order to meet the needs of industry.
The second flagship action is called “Innovation Union” and was launched on 6 October 2010. It aims at improving framework conditions and access to finance for research and innovation so as to ensure that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growth and jobs.
DG Enterprise and Industry employs around 1,000 people in its departments and units and is responsible for a budget of some € 1.5 billion.
European Union has an active standardization policy, which promotes standardization in support of better regulation, and as an instrument for the competitiveness of European industry. This policy is centered upon the recognized European standardization system, and a partnership to implement the ‘New Approach’. In its Communication “The role of European standardization in the framework of European policies and legislation” of 18 October 2004, the Commission highlighted its standardization policy and formulated recommendations aiming to improve the European standardization system, by:
- Continuing to make more extensive use of European standardization in European policies and legislation;
- Improving the efficiency, coherence, visibility of European standardization and of its institutional framework (including the effective participation of all interested parties and the financial viability of European standardization);
- Continuing to promote international standards while ensuring that they are consistent with the objective of EU policies, and to enhance the role of European standardization in the international context and the visibility of its achievements.
More information about the “Europe 2020” strategy can be found on the European Commission’s central Europe 2020 website: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/index_en.htm
For more information on DG ENTR see: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/index_en.htm
European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organization set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its Member States. EFTA came into being on 3 May 1960 on the premise of free trade as a means of achieving growth and prosperity amongst its Member States as well as promoting closer economic co-operation between the Western European countries. Furthermore, the EFTA countries wished to contribute to the expansion of trade in the world at large.
EFTA was founded by the following seven countries: Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Finland joined in 1961, Iceland in 1970, and Liechtenstein in 1991. In 1973, the UK and Denmark left EFTA to join the EU They were followed by Portugal in 1986, and by Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995. Today the EFTA members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In 1994, the Internal Marked of the EU was extended through the entry into force of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), which today comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and the 27 EU Member States.
Based on these overall goals, today EFTA maintains the management of the EFTA Convention (intra-EFTA trade), the EFTA Free Trade Agreements (third country relations) and the EEA Agreement (for the three EEA EFTA Countries). The EFTA Convention and the EFTA free trade agreements are managed from the Geneva office, the EEA Agreement from the Brussels office. In addition, EFTA’s Statistical Office in Luxembourg ensures close cooperation with EU’s Eurostat office.
Through the EFTA cooperation the Members States have at present concluded 22 free trade agreements in 31 countries globally. Discussions are taking place with a number of states on new agreements. The agreements are based on and seek to promote the multilateral rule-based trading system, as embodied in the WTO. Although EFTA’s membership is small, it is a world leader in the promotion of free trade. The EFTA economies are also consistently high performers as to competitiveness, ranking among the top 30 most competitive economies worldwide.
The EFTA countries and the European Commission closely cooperate on creating and implementing a European standardization policy. This includes parallel financing of standards-related work carried out by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. EFTA Member States use the same standards as EU countries and have the same conformity assessment procedures. In order to ensure that public authorities and enterprises in the EEA EFTA countries abide by the rules of the EEA Agreement, the EFTA Surveillance Authority has been established in Brussels, which has close contacts and cooperation with the Commission. The EFTA Court based in Luxembourg deals with infringement actions brought by the Surveillance authority against an EEA EFTA State with regard to the implementation, application or interpretation of an EEA rule.
For more information about EFTA and the EEA Agreement see: www.efta.int