The link between standards and policy, sometimes unclear

In the European Union (EU), standardisation is more and more often used as a tool for implementing EU legislation and policies, including in the environmental area. Although ECOS acknowledges the important role that standards can play, we believe that standards should exclusively be used in European policy to provide technical specifications and details, allowing compliance with legal requirements (e.g. harmonised methodologies for measuring the energy efficiency of products). ECOS believes that major societal and environmental challenges ought to be addressed in legislation is priority, unless it is proven that standards are the most appropriate tools to address them.

Inclusiveness and transparency of the standardisation system: Myth or reality? 

ECOS welcomed the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 on European standardisation, which aims to modernise and improve the European standards’ setting process, speeding it up and making it more transparent and inclusive. The Regulation requires the EU to support the European stakeholders’ organisations involved in standardisation (such as ECOS) and set political expectations for the strengthening of the voice of societal interests in the standards’ development process. Among others, the EU committs to the continued financing of the representation of the public interest in the European Standardisation System (ESS). The Regulation also requires that the European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs, including CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and the National Standardisation Bodies (NSBs), to ensure balanced representation and effective participation of societal stakeholders at both a European and a national level.

In reality however, ECOS regrets that the system does not currently guarantee such effective participation of societal stakeholders, neither at European nor national level. Supported by its 38 member organisations, ECOS advocates for a truly inclusive and transparent standards’ setting process which delivers standards reflecting societal and environmental interests most appropriately.

Together with its fellow organisations representing the interests of consumers, ANEC, and workers ETUC, ECOS takes part in related political and strategic discussions with the EU institutions, the Member States and the governance bodies of the standards’ organisations.

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