The general framework for European standardisation policy is provided by the following:
Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012
The Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European standardisation is the legal basis for the Union to use European standards for products and for services in support of Union legislation and policies, to identify ICT technical specifications and to finance European standardisation.
The Regulation also sets obligations to European standardisation organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and national standardisation bodies on transparency of standardisation processes and on stakeholder participation in European and national standardisation activities.
Transparency and stakeholder participation (Articles 3 to 7)
In order to allow smooth functioning of the internal market for products and for services the work programmes of the European standardisation organisations and the national standardisation bodies have to be transparent and publicly available. The national standardisation bodies shall allow access to draft national standards and they shall consult the Commission, if they receive comments on possible negative impact a draft standard would have on the internal market.
Standardisation processes – both at policy development as well as at standards development levels – shall be inclusive and facilitate appropriate and effective participation of all relevant stakeholders. SMEs, consumer organisations and environmental and social stakeholders shall be encouraged to participate in standardisation. Specific requirements are addressed to the national standardisation bodies to facilitate and promote SMEs access to standards and standards development processes.
Annex I of the Regulation determines the European standardisation organisations while the list of national standardisation bodies is published separately in the OJEU and updated by the Commission on the basis of notifications given by the Member States (2013/C 279/08) .
European standards and other deliverables in support of Union legislation and policies (Articles 8 to 12)
The Regulation sets the framework for using European standards and other standardisation deliverables in support of Union legislation and policies. Such specifications are always developed following Commission's standardisation requests (mandates) addressed to the European standardisation organisations.
The European Commission has a key role in planning and initiating such standardisation and related standardisation requests (mandates). The Commission's strategic planning, including information on possible future mandates, is given in the annual Union work programme for European standardisation. Before taking specific standardisation policy actions the Commission notifies the stakeholders through a publicly available Notification System.
Voluntary European standards, developed after Commission mandates, can be used in support of Union legislation to provide detailed technical specifications in order to fulfill legally binding objectives set in relevant Union legislation– that is the case in particular with harmonised standards cited in the OJEU. Mandated European standards and other deliverables can also support policy actions having no direct links to Union legislation – like promoting innovation and new technologies, competitiveness, public procurement and interoperability.
The Regulation sets directly applicable framework for using harmonised standards in Union harmonisation legislation. Compliance of harmonised standards, and other mandated documents, with initial mandate should be assessed by the Commission and European standardisation organisations. A reference to a harmonised standard is published in the OJEU, if it satisfies the requirements which it aims to cover as set out in the corresponding Union harmonisation legislation. Publication of titles of harmonised standards in the OJEU can be challenged by the revised formal objection procedure given in the Regulation.
Identification of ICT technical specifications (Articles 13 and 14)
ICT technical specifications are specifications not adopted by European standardisation organisations, ISO/IEC nor national standardisation bodies. They are developed by other standards development organisations and do not fall in any of the categories of standards and approvals laid down in Union's public procurement legislation.
In order to provide for the possibility that technical specifications for public procurement could refer to such ICT technical specifications, the Regulation lays down a procedure for identification of selected ICT technical specifications eligible for referencing. ICT technical specifications to be identified by the Commission shall fulfill the criteria given in the Annex II of the Regulation. Before identification the Commission consults the European multi-stakeholder platform on ICT standardisation established by the Commission Decision of 28 November 2011 (OJ C 349, 30.11.2011, p. 4) .
Financing European standardisation (Articles 15 to 19)
The Regulation establishes the legal basis for the to the European standardisation system. Union financing may be granted to the European standardisation organisation, national standardisation bodies or other bodies co-operating with European standardisation organisation, and to European stakeholder organisations meeting the criteria set out in the Annex III of Regulation.
The financial support of European standardisation organisations consists mainly in grants both for the functioning of the central secretariats of those organisations and for the support of specific actions to be carried out by those organisations.
The financial support of European stakeholder organisations may consist in grants for functioning of these organisations, for participation in the technical work, for promoting European stadardisation among interested parties and for provision of legal or technical expertise.
Objectives and conditions relating to grants are defined in framework partnership agreements between the Commission and the organisations financed. The overall sum available for the support of European standardisation system has been stable over the last years and amounts to annually around € 20 million.
General guidelines for the co-operation with the European Standards Organisations
The general guidelines for the co-operation between CEN, CENELEC and ETSI and the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association, are a purely political document. Therein, all the partners confirm their common understanding about the role of European standardisation, about its principles such as openness, transparency and impartiality and about their willingness to cooperate, on the basis of these principles, in support of European policies.
General guidelines for the co-operation between CEN, CENELEC and ETSI and the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association were adopted and signed on 28 March 2003.
Vademecum on European Standardisation
Vademecum on European Standardisation: compilation of some key documents from the Commission services on European standardisation policy and related practice. It provides guidance without having legal status.