The Commission's document, A strategic vision for European standards: Moving forward to enhance and accelerate the sustainable growth of the European economy by 2020, aims to adapt Europe's standards activities to a quickly changing global economic landscape. According to the document, European standardization will play a crucial role in a wide variety of areas, from European competitiveness to improving accessibility to resource efficiency. In order to respond rapidly to evolving needs in all areas, a comprehensive, inclusive, efficient, and technically up-to-date European standardization system will be required.
"To be successful, Europe needs to react to the challenge of rapid innovation, sustainability, convergence of technologies, and fierce global competition," said European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani. "A dynamic European standardization system is essential to spur quality and innovation and to strengthen Europe's role as a global economic player."
Chief among the measures announced by the Commission are the following initiatives:
The European Commission will enhance its cooperation with European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) in order to speed the availability of standards. ESOs should reduce the average time to develop European standards or European standardization deliverables requested by the Commission by 50% by 2020.
Standards for information and communication technology (ICT) will play a more prominent role in the EU in an effort to stimulate innovation, cut administrative costs, and encourage interoperability between devices, applications, data repositories, services, and networks. The Commission will demand that European standards for innovative products and services be quickly elaborated and adopted, in such fields as ecodesign, smart grids, energy efficiency of buildings, nanotechnologies, security, and eMobility.
Europe will push for more international standards in the economic sectors where Europe is a global leader.
European standards will be drafted with the help of organizations representing those most affected, including consumers, small businesses, environmental, and social organizations.
Some of the actions proposed today will be implemented immediately while others will require the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.
The three ESOs formally recognized by the European Union are the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
To read the full document and accompanying information, visit the European Commission's website.