Standardisation, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment, and Mutual Recognition Agreements

To circulate freely within the European Economic Area, products must conform to requirements laid down by the EU/EEA product legislation which is aimed at protecting health, safety and the environment. In certain areas, the EU/EEA product legislation is complemented by European harmonised standards.

Standardisation is a market-based tool in which industry and other stakeholders produce standards in order to agree on technical specifications for health, safety and the environment and to achieve interoperability. The development of common European standards and the withdrawal of conflicting national standards has played a leading role in the achievement of a European Single Market for goods. The three European Standardisation Organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) are recognised as organisations that may be mandated to produce European harmonised standards in support of sectoral harmonised product legislation. The four EFTA countries have a long-standing policy of contributing financially to European Standardisation.

The compliance of products with legislation and standards is demonstrated through conformity assessment methods, such as testing, inspection and certification. Accreditation means an attestation by a National Accreditation Body that a Conformity Assessment Body meets the requirements set by harmonised standards and, where applicable, any additional requirements including those set out in relevant sectoral schemes, to carry out a specific conformity assessment activity.

The objective of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) is to promote trade in goods between the EEA EFTA States and third countries by facilitating market access. These are bilateral agreements, aiming to benefit industry by providing easier access to conformity assessment procedures.

The four EFTA countries have for a long time contributed financially to and participated actively in EU technical cooperation programmes in the field of quality infrastructure.


Quality infrastructure: What is that?

Quality infrastructure refers here to all aspects of metrology, standardisation, accreditation, market surveillance, testing, quality management, inspection and certification that have a bearing on conformity assessment. This includes public and private institutions and the regulatory framework within which they operate. 


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Internal Market Division

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