Slide 1

EU approaches to
Standards and
Conformity and
Stefano Soro
European Single Market
The free movement of goods is a
cornerstone of the Single European
Market. Need to protect health
and safety of users, consumers,
workers, their property and the
Over 500 million consumers
Essential requirements and
standards interplay
Essential requirements in Directives (law) –
state the desired outcome without specifying how it
should be achieved
For consumer products not otherwise regulated, the
General Product Safety Directive provides the
general principle without being prescriptive
European Standards specify how to meet essential
The EU entrusts independent standardisation
bodies with developing standards
Standards are voluntary but, if the reference is
published in Official Journal, presumption of
Anyone who has a need can propose
business, manufacturers, buyers, users,
consumers, regulators, NGOs etc.
If the EU wants to develop a standard, it gives a
mandate to one of the EU standardisation bodies
(CEN, CENELEC or ETSI) to carry out the work
Volunteers and technical experts draft
Coordinated through national members (can
include reps from industry, SMEs, consumer
organisations, environmentalists, users etc.)
Work done in technical committees
Why is a European Standard
so valuable?
Shaped by those who contribute
Open and transparent process
Market driven
Representation of all interested parties
Reached through agreement
1 European Standard = 31 national standards =
access to a market of 500 million people
Safety requirements identified under GPSD
– next areas of standardisation in 2012
Chair-mounted seats, children’s chairs,
table-mounted chairs
Alcohol-powered flueless fireplaces
Cycle trailers
Infant swings, baby bouncers
Activity centres
Slings, soft carriers
Laser products
Key societal challenges for the
Consumer protection
Improved accessibility of disabled
and elderly people
Climate change
Resource efficiency
Security and civil protection
Protection of personal data and
individuals’ privacy
Industrial Policy and Innovation
Clarifying and strengthening the
relationship between
standardisation and research
Increased speed of standardisation
Financial support to the ESOs tied
to their efficiency
Inclusive standards development
Nowadays not all SMEs and societal
stakeholders are sufficiently represented in the
standardisation process
The Commission will continue to financially
support the participation of SMEs and societal
stakeholders in European standardisation
The Commission invites the Member States, the
ESOs and the national standards bodies to try
to accommodate the needs of all stakeholders
Services sector
Although the EU economy is relying
more and more on services, European
standardisation in this field is lagging
Standards have a great potential to
improve interoperability and quality of
services => the wish is to use
standardisation to support a single
market for services in the same way as
it is supporting the single market for
Standards to increase EU
Standards increase global exchanges
Primacy of international standards
European standards should resemble
international ones as much as possible,
and home-grown standards should be
prepared only when international ones
are lacking
Proactive and leading role in the
international standards bodies
International cooperation
Main channel: ISO
Novelty: The European Commission, together
with product safety authorities from Australia,
Canada and the US has launched a pilot project
to find consensus on safety requirements
The pilot project covers selected products
which can be dangerous for children: corded
window coverings, chair-top booster seats,
baby slings
Currently staff discussions ongoing, with
possible proposals to their agencies for

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