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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

European standards

Harmonised Standards

A harmonised standard is a European standard developed by a recognised European Standards Organisation: CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI. It is created following a request from the European Commission to one of these organisations.

Standardisation requests - mandates

About a fifth of all European standards are developed following a standardisation request (mandate) from the European Commission to the European Standardisation Organisations. This is a request to draw up and adopt European standards or European standardisation deliverables in support of EU policy.

Key players in European Standardisation

European standardisation is a consensus-building process that involves many players.

Vademecum on European standardisation

This Vademecum compiles key documents from the European Commission on European standardisation policy and related practice. It provides guidance without having legal status.

Standards are technical specifications defining requirements for products, production processes, services or test-methods. These specifications are voluntary. They are developed by industry and market actors following some basic principles such as consensus, openness, transparency and non-discrimination. Standards ensure interoperability and safety, reduce costs and facilitate companies' integration in the value chain and trade.

European Standards are under the responsibility of the European Standardisation Organisations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) and can be used to support EU legislation and policies.

What the Commission is doing

In the spotlight

  • The European Commission has published its roadmap for the upcoming standardisation strategy. The roadmap is open for feedback until 26 July 2021. The strategy aims to address the challenges facing the European standardisation system. It is a response to the need to be more assertive and strategic at international level and seeks to better respond to standardisation needs arising from the green and digital transformation of the EU’s industrial ecosystem.

Standardisation is a powerful and strategic tool for improving the efficiency of European policies. The Commission pays special attention to standardisation because standards can influence most areas of public concern such as the competitiveness of industry, the functioning of the single market, the protection of the environment and of human health, not to forget the enhancement of innovation.

Related links

Standardisation based on patent-protected technologies is a key contributor to industrial innovation and competitiveness. The European Commission supports the improvement of the framework governing the inclusion of patent-protected technologies into standards and the facilitation of the licensing process for these technologies.