Standardisation results from voluntary cooperation between industry, businesses, public authorities, and other stakeholders. About a fifth of all European standards are developed following a standardisation request (mandate) from the European Commission to the European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs). This is a request to draw up and adopt European standards or European standardisation deliverables in support of European policies and legislation. European standards and European standardisation deliverables, even though developed under a Commission request and for European legislation, usually remain voluntary. However, when European standards are adopted, National Standardisation Bodies (NSBs) should transpose them into identical national standards and withdraw any conflicting national standards.
Draft requests are drawn up by the Commission through a process of consultation with a wide group of interested parties including social partners, consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry associations and EU countries. Before being formally sent to the ESOs, they are submitted to the Committee on Standards of the Regulation (EU) 1025/2012 for a vote. If this vote is positive, the Commission adopts the request as a Commission Implementing Decision.
The ESOs, which are independent organisations, have the right to refuse a mandate if they do not think that standards can be produced in a particular area. Due to the preceding consultation process, standardisation requests are rarely refused.
The standardisation requests issued by the European Commission are available in the database of mandates. The full texts of mandates are uploaded in English, French and German.
Three types of mandates may be identified: