The benefits of standards for European industry are extensive. Standards help manufacturers reduce costs, anticipate technical requirements, and increase productive and innovative efficiency. The European Commission recognises the positive effects of standards in areas such as trade, the creation of Single Market for products and services, and innovation.
Standardisation is a key factor of trade policy. It contributes to the removal of technical barriers to trade, increases market access and international trade, and enhances cooperation at the international level. The use of standards can help EU industry and SMEs to access global markets.
Standardisation has been a driving factor in the creation of the EU Single Market. European standards replace national technical specifications and help to eliminate technical barriers to trade. European standardisation has successfully contributed to the implementation of European legislation such as the 'New Approach' concept in major industrial sectors.
Standardisation can make an important contribution to the development of sustainable industrial policy, unlock the potential of innovative markets, and strengthen the position of the EU economy. It brings a solid foundation to build and disseminate innovative technologies and enhance business practices.
Standards may define how a product is made, used, maintained and disposed of at the end of its life. They can thus have a substantial beneficial influence on the way that products and services affect the environment.
A modern ICT standardisation policy is being developed. It will allow Europe to respond to changing societal, market and policy needs.
The Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation is the result of collaboration with major standardisation stakeholders through the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation. It covers all activities that can support standardisation. Priority actions aim to ensure interoperability and facilitate ICT uptake in key areas.
Services are crucial to Europe. They account for up to 70% of economic activity in the EU and a similar proportion of overall employment. The Commission is investigating the role standardisation can play in the development of the Single Market for services.
Standardisation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) encourage innovation and facilitate the dissemination of technology. The Commission supports the view that standards should be open for access and implementation by everyone. IPRs relevant to the standard should be taken into consideration in the standardisation process. This would help ensure a balance between the interests of the users of standards and the rights of owners of intellectual property.