Why standards are important for the Single Market

Published 12-10-2018
Legislators and standardisers at the opening of the conference
Standardisation is important for EFTA because it has contributed significantly to the development of the Single Market, removing technical barriers to trade and facilitating cross-border trade.

Today, in the frame of World Standards Day on 14 October, and the 25th anniversary of the European Single Market, EFTA, along with the European Standardisation Organisations and the European Commission organised a conference on ‘Standards meet the Future’.

The conference hosted by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, tackled this year’s World Standards Day topic the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’.

The Director of EFTA’s Internal Market division, Brit Helle, spoke at the opening of the conference and drew on real life examples to convey the importance of standardisation.

“We take it for granted that we can use our credit cards all over the world, that we can access the internet through our various appliances everywhere we go and that the same size paper fits in all printers world-wide, without realising that none of this would be possible without standards and the work behind their existence. When, while travelling, we are faced with the fact that the plugs on our electrical appliances do not fit the sockets, we get frustrated and very surprised and wonder what happened to standardisation,” she said.

Ms Helle referred to a study on the economic benefits of standards in the Nordic countries and explained how economic growth and labour productivity is clearly linked to standardisation. The study also found that improved market access was the most important factor for companies deciding to use standards, with improvement of product and service quality being a close second.

“Standardisation creates trust and confidence with customers, and helps companies comply with regulations. Standards are one of the main prerequisites for a well-functioning single market.”

 

Director
Internal Market Division

+32 2 286 17 40

Officer
Internal Market Division

+32 22861 758