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European standards

Standardisation is the voluntary process of developing technical specifications based on consensus among all interested parties (industry including Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), consumers, trade unions, environmental Non Governmental Organisations (NGO), public authorities, etc). It is carried out by independent standards bodies, acting at national, European and international level.

While the use of standards remains voluntary, the European Union has, since the mid-1980s, made an increasing use of standards in support of its policies and legislation.

Standardisation has contributed significantly to the completion of the Internal Market in the context of ' New Approach' legislation, which refers to European standards developed by the European standards organisations.

Furthermore, European standardisation supports European policies in the areas of competitiveness, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), innovation, interoperability, environment, transport, energy, consumer protection, etc.

Standardisation is an excellent tool to facilitate international trade, competition and the acceptance of innovations by markets. A key challenge for European standardisation is to strengthen its contribution to the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

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