Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Identification of ICT specifications

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The European Commission has developed a flexible approach to standardisation when identifying new ICT technical specifications.
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The European Commission and the EU Member States can identify ICT technical specifications that are not national, European, or international standards, provided they meet precise requirements. Once identified and approved, these specifications can then be referenced in European public procurement. This flexible approach allows the EU to respond to the fast evolution of technology in ICT. It also helps encourage competition, promote interoperability and innovation, and facilitate the provision of cross-border services.

How are new standards identified?

The Multi Stakeholder Platform (MSP) – an expert advisory group on ICT standardisation - sets up evaluation groups to identify new standards. These groups verify compliance with identification requirements and produce an evaluation report with advice on possible new specifications. Those identified are then approved by the Platform, and public consultations are held.

A public consultation on ICT Standardisation has just ended. The European Commission has launched a new public consultation of sectoral experts in the context of the identification of ICT Technical Specification UBL 2.1. The consultation is based on the advice provided by the European MSP on ICT standardisation, an advisory expert group on all matters related to ICT standardisation.

Based on the consultation, the Commission decides whether or not to identify the ICT technical specification as a “common technical specification” that can be used by public authorities in their public procurement (In accordance with the Public Procurement Regulations).

What requirements do new standards have to meet?

For ICT technical specifications to be 'identified' as possible "common technical specifications" they must have market acceptance and be coherent with European Standardisation. Moreover, the process by which the standards are developed must meet defined attributes, specifically: maintainance, availability, intellectual property rights, relevance, neutrality and stability, quality.

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