Since the setting up of the current European standardisation system with the adoption of the Directive on standards and technical regulations (98/34/EC ) and the New Approach to technical harmonisation, the general framework conditions influencing the impact of standards and their development and use have changed significantly.
European standardisation has to cope with increasing global challenges, adapting to growing international competition in standards-setting from emerging powers as well as the convergence of technologies. It has to give support to innovative industries and services responding at the same time to societal demands and must become more efficient and integrated. In the light of these new conditions, it has become necessary to review the current standardisation system and to reform it in order to adapt it to the needs of the forthcoming decade.
Therefore, the Commission initiated a set of actions:
- A study on "access to standardisation" has been undertaken on behalf of the European Commission to determine to what extent the European standardisation system in its present form can guarantee appropriate access to all interested parties (final report published in April 2009).
- A study on the "Evaluation of the contribution of community financing of standardisation to the fulfilment of policy objectives of the Commission" was carried out by the Enterprise Evaluation Consortium GHK/Technopolis on behalf of DG Enterprise and Industry. The final report concerning an evaluation of the contribution of community financing of standardisation [3 MB] was presented on 30th June 2009.
- The setting up of an independent advisory Expert Panel for the Review of the European Standardisation System (EXPRESS) to develop strategic recommendations for the European Commission and other stakeholders which show how standardisation can bring greater value to Europe and can capitalise on its strengths and values in the global standardisation context.
- A public consultation on the review of the European Standardisation System was held from 23.03.2010 to 21.05.2010. The goal of this Open Consultation was to gain an understanding of stakeholders’ view on the review of the European Standardisation System and to gather opinions and suggestions on the potential avenues the Commission should explore in order to shape concrete proposals. The results of this open consultation together with other studies and the report of a group of experts (EXPRESS) will help the European Commission to formulate proposals to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.