Call to preserve the EU ‘New Approach’ as one of the Single Market’s best regulatory techniques

Published: 8 March 2017

Policies & Issues: Internal Market - Compliance, Standards & Enforcement

For over 30 years, the ‘New Approach to technical harmonisation’ (better known as the “CE marking system”) has proven to be the most effective better regulation technique for the sectors represented by Orgalime – thanks to the twin tracks of essential requirements defined by regulators and harmonised standards developed in the European Standards Organisations that serve as a practical compliance tool. It has successfully supported the free circulation of industrial products within the European Single Market, allowing our industry to become more competitive and an innovation world leader in many technologies. As a result, we have been able to drive growth and jobs: today, the engineering sector employs nearly 11 million people in the EU, had a turnover of 1900 billion euro in 2015 and produces over a third of the EU’s manufacturing exports. And the industry continues to grow in terms of jobs and output.

Unfortunately, the New Approach is on its way to becoming mired in bureaucracy and is in danger of losing its potency as a driver of competitiveness. After four years of over-legalistic implementation of Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation, we are seeing a sharp drop in the number of harmonised standards being cited in the Official Journal. As a result, company experts, who are the backbone of standardisation work, are increasingly discouraged with the situation.  

This is why Orgalime is calling upon EU policy makers to save the New Approach – which has been so successful over so many years – from the unnecessarily bureaucratic measures arising from the Commission’s over-stringent legal interpretation of Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation. We believe it is essential that the Commission urgently restore in practice the flexibility manufacturers have enjoyed through this regulatory technique. It is time for the Commission to make a serious effort at Better Regulation in this area.

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