Draft Orgalime comments on EP IMCO report on the Future of European Standardisation

Published: 6 September 2010

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

Orgalime welcomes the European Parliament’s initiative to make an own initiative report and opinion on the future of European standardisation. This issue is of high relevance for the industries Orgalime represents, the overwhelming majority of which are SMEs.

We support the statements and recommendations made in points 2, 3, 6, 8, 14, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30 and especially those made in points 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 27, and 29.

The development of service standards should remain a business-driven process, free from bureaucratic validation procedures. Orgalime agrees with pointing out (Statement 6) that European standards availability in the area of services could be increased and supports the inclusion of standardisation of services in the legal framework. We underline however that the initiation of new service standardisation projects should come from the stakeholders affected, not from the regulator by means of standardisation mandates.

Standards are voluntary tools and serve different goals than laws. In a voluntary system, the participation of SMEs and crafts is commensurate to their needs and genuine interest in developing standards themselves, or more often via trade associations that are paid for that purpose (see point 23). The relevance of standards depends on their capacity to serve the needs of their primary users, i.e. the companies that will use them for designing products or supplying services. We further stress that national standards organisations should be committed to follow the ISO Code of Ethics in order to ensure that the impartiality of standards is not endangered from other activities such as certification.

In the national delegation principle we trust. Orgalime very much welcomes the statement made in point 13 that recognises the principle of national delegation as a cornerstone of the European Standardisation System, particularly in the standards-development process of CEN and CENELEC. We however regret that some other statements (15, 16, 17 and 18) calling for the direct involvement of societal stakeholders at European level come in contradiction with it.

Awareness-raising and education are the priorities for SMEs. The most significant hurdle to accessing standards is not their price but ignorance about the economic gains that they could provide for a company, especially an SME. This point is currently missing in the draft report.

Strengthening the ESS requires no widening of its scope, but more involvement. There is no need to integrate the WTO principles in EU Directive 98/34/EC. Instead, Orgalime welcomes the acknowledgement in point 22 of the need for more involvement of experts from national administrations, especially those that are in charge of the implementation and market surveillance.

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