Commission presents Standardisation Package and Joint Initiative on Standardisation to EFTA

Published 06-06-2016
Crispin Waymouth, Deputy Head of Unit at DG Grow.
The 146th meeting of EFTA’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Committee) took place in Brussels on 2 June. Representatives of the European Commission informed the Committee about the Standardisation Package adopted by the Commission the previous day, as well as the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (JIS), in which EFTA has had an active role.

The Commission outlined its vision for the European Standardisation System and thanked EFTA for its support and for being a reliable partner in European standardisation. 

Standardisation Package

On 1 June 2016, the Commission adopted a Standardisation Package on “European Standards for the 21st Century”, containing the following four elements:

 

  • A communication on “European Standards for the 21st Century”
  • A staff working document on “Tapping the potential of European service standards to help Europe’s consumers and businesses”
  • A report from the Commission to the European Parliament and Council on the implementation of the Standards Regulation
  • The annual Union Work Programme for European standardisation for 2017

 

 

In the communication, the Commission sets out its vision for an efficient European Standardisation System and announces the next steps on the JIS. It establishes a steering committee to monitor work in the JIS, and authorises Commissioner Bieńkowska to sign the JIS on behalf of the College in Amsterdam on 13 June.

 

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Joint Initiative on Standardisation

The JIS sets out a shared vision to modernise the way that standards are produced in Europe. In the initiative, the partners agree on a vision for European standardisation and on several principles and values that the system is based on.

European standards are developed by industry and other market players in an inclusive and timely manner. They contribute significantly to growth, jobs and societal welfare by providing high quality standards and other deliverables. The European Standardisation System provides a coherent set of standards for Europe and globally, facilitating global market access by taking up international standards wherever possible. By modernising its standardisation system and making sure that it meets our needs, Europe can keep its position as a world leader in standards development.

The JIS will be formally launched in Amsterdam on 13 June. It is a collaborative co regulation, the first of its kind, and is in line with the key elements of the 2015 Better Regulation Package. The JIS is voluntary and does not establish any new legal commitments or change any existing legislation. The text was developed by an editorial committee in which all interested parties in the European standardisation community participated. The Editorial Committee was chaired by the Commission, with the EFTA Secretariat acting as the Secretariat to the Committee.

EFTA’s participation in European standardisation

EFTA has a longstanding tradition of being a partner in the public-private partnership at European level in the European Standardisation System. In parallel with the Commission, EFTA funds the work of the European Standardisation Organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) as well as the recognised stakeholder organisations, the so-called Annex III Organisations (ANEC, ECOS, SBS and ETUC). This line of cooperation and co-funding has been followed since the Luxembourg Declaration of 1984.

TBT Committee

The TBT Committee reports directly to the EFTA Council. Standardisation policy falls under the responsibility of the TBT Committee. Here, the four EFTA States discuss and exchange views on policy developments. Through close cooperation and dialogue with the Commission and the European standardisation community, the EFTA States and the Secretariat play an active part in standardisation work at European level. Numerous decisions from the TBT Committee and the EFTA Council have supported the European Standardisation System over the years in relation to policy, financial contributions and other issues.

Hein Bollens and Crispin Waymouth, Deputy Heads of Unit at DG Grow, explain the elements of the new Standardisation Package to the TBT Committee (seen here Dorte Dahl Grønnevet, Chair of the TBT Committee (Norway), Anne J. Børmark, delegate for Norway, and Sebastien Morard, delegate for Switzerland).

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