Cooperation is key to unlocking the EU Standardisation Strategy’s full potential

Published 10-11-2023

The opportunities and challenges facing the European standardisation system were the focus of EFTA’s conference on 8 November, titled "Raising the Standard: Working together to unlock the EU Standardisation Strategy's full potential".

The conference was held at EFTA House in Brussels, welcoming 65 in-house participants, with more people joining the live stream following the discussions online.

Standardisation has been part of EFTA's work since the early 1980s. Active involvement in European standardisation began in parallel with the European Commission’s activities. EFTA signed its first agreements with CEN and CENELEC in 1986 and with ETSI in 1989.

In 2022, the Commission presented its new Standardisation Strategy, outlining the EU’s approach to standards within the Single Market and globally. The new strategy aims to strengthen the EU’s global competitiveness, enabling a resilient, green and digital economy.

Europe’s competitiveness, technological sovereignty, ability to reduce dependencies, and protection of EU values will depend on how successful European actors are in standardisation at the international level, said Dr Rebekka Porath, Director for EU Standards Policy at Intel’s Global Government Affairs Organisation in her keynote speech, referring to the EU Standardisation Strategy.

Ultimately, the discourse of this EFTA conference focused on how EU and non-EU actors can work together to unlock the EU Standardisation Strategy’s full potential, both in the EFTA States and in wider Europe.

– Standards should establish a framework to ensure user safety. However, we must also allow space for innovation. National high-level forums can help governments gain insights into industry and technology trends. Additionally, local high-level forums can support testing and development, said Neviana Nikoloski, Manager for Regulatory Affairs at Sonova Communications.

The participants received a thorough introduction to the European standardisation system through keynotes, panel discussions and Q&A sessions delivered by industry experts, policymakers and executive leaders in the standardisation field. The discussions revolved around the effects of the EU Standardisation Strategy from an industry point of view and at the European and national levels.

My recommendation is to involve young people in standards. Without education and new individuals entering the standards field, there won't be enough experts to develop future standards, said Silvia Vaccaro, Policy Officer at the Standards Policy Unit in DG GROW.

The conference also facilitated many networking opportunities, starting with a lunch and ending with a reception.

Europe being a leader in standard setting and influencing standardisation on the global level is vital for ensuring Europe’s competitiveness. The EU Standardisation Strategy has great potential, but to maximise this, standardisation stakeholders across Europe must work together. We all have something to contribute, said EFTA Deputy Secretary-General, Siri Veseth Meling in her closing remarks.


See the photo gallery from the event here:

Slideshows and recordings from the presentations:

"Stuck in the caboose? Three thoughts on how non-EU countries relate to the EU Standardisation Strategy." - Jacob Mehus, Managing Director at Standards Norway - presentation and recording.

"The EU Standardisation Strategy - Implementation and Challenges." - Silvia Vaccaro, Standards Policy Unit, DG GROW - presentation and recording.

How is the EU Standardisation Strategy influencing European industry? – Dr. Rebekka Porath, Director of EU Standards Policy at Intel Corporation's Global Government Affairs group - recording.

Panel discussion - recording.

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