Action 21: Propose legislation on ICT interoperability

What is the problem? Fragmentation of EU-produced technologies and services

Digital devices, applications and services should interact seamlessly anywhere, anytime.

However, this is far from being the case in Europe. The fragmentation of the potential market for EU-produced technologies and services hampers growth in Europe's ICT sector.

Why is EU action required? EU-wide standards ensure interoperability

Better Europe-wide standards would enhance interoperability and ensure that digital applications and devices work across borders. ICT standards issued by leading fora and consortia cannot currently be referenced in public procurement, EU policies and legislation. One simple example is the protocol that you are probably using to access this page on the web. These problems will be addressed in the reform of the EU standardization framework, which is essential to keep pace with fast-moving international technology market.

What has the Commission done until now?

On 1st June 2011 the European Commission adopted a reform package to strengthen the system of standard-setting in Europe.

Following its adoption by the Council on 4 October 2012, the Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on European standardisation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the series L 316.

What will the Commission do?

The European Commission will provide ICT expertise where necessary to support the implementation of the legislative package.

The European Commission is chairing the "European Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation" which has the role to advise the Commission on matters relating to the implementation of standardisation policy in the ICT field. This will make it easier to use those technical specifications, which are mainly those regulating the technical implementation of the Internet, for example in public procurement.

As a result, public authorities will have fewer constraints in the selection of their vendors and consumers will have a broader choice of products at a lower price.

Furthermore, the European Commission will identify and execute appropriate standardization actions in the context of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, as well as in regulatory actions and in public policies.