ECOS welcomes the adoption of a report on European standards by the European Parliament today. This own-initiative report shows that the use of standards in policy should not be taken lightly, and that and the European Commission and standardisers were not given a blank card after the adoption of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012 on European standardisation.
ECOS regrets the soft tone of the report with mixed recommendations for greater participation of civil society, as compared to the first draft of IMCO Rapporteur MEP Marlene Mizzi.
The report stresses the importance of European standards to benefit citizen welfare and urges that the standard development process is open, transparent and inclusive “in all circumstances”. ECOS agrees that these principles are key and should apply regardless of if standards are developed in response to a standardisation request by the Commission, or developed in Europe or internationally.
ECOS particularly welcomes that MEPs require the European Standardisation Organisations to endorse international standards as European standards providing the principles of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012, including in relation to the participation of Annex III organisations. ECOS’ participation has been challenged several times at international level in the last years, despite the standards developed designated to support EU laws.
The Parliament recognises the recent efforts made, but rightly urge for greater efforts by the European Standardisation Organisations and the Commission to improve the system to achieve more openness, accessibility and transparency. ECOS applauds the call on the European Commission to harmonise conditions for all Annex III organisations, and guarantee their financial support.
ECOS also welcomes the proposed establishment of an Annual Standardisation Forum, involving the other European institutions to ensure transparency and dialogue around developments towards efficiency and inclusiveness of the standardisation system.
As it stands, Annex III organisations complement the lack of or low-level participation of civil society at national level. Civil society participation at national level must however be supported and facilitated, including through the availability of public financing, as the lack of resources is one of the main obstacles to participate. ECOS welcomes MEPs’ call to national standards bodies and national authorities to develop national strategies to improve inclusiveness at national level, but regrets no concrete measures are proposed.
ECOS welcomes MEPs’ call to national standards organisations and authorities to develop strategies to improve inclusiveness at national level. As it stands, Annex III organisations complement the lack of or low-level participation of civil society at national level. Civil society participation across Europe must however be supported and facilitated, including through the availability of public financing, as the lack of resources is one of the main obstacles to participate. Unfortunately, no such concrete measures are proposed in the report.
Laura Degallaix, ECOS Director, remarked: “What ECOS regrets the most is the lack of reference to the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice in the James Elliott case, which for the first time recognises that European standards are part of EU laws. The implications this ruling could have on the European Standardisation System, the use of standards in EU policy-making, or the availability of standards could be game changing. This will however require to finally recognise that the approach that has been followed for over 30 years may need to be rethought.”
Notes for editors:
Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 on European standardisation, 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.
The Annex III organisations are organisations representing underrepresented stakeholders in standardisation and whose participation must be supported and facilitated in the European standardisation system. These organisations are ANEC, ECOS, ETUC and SBS, respectively representing consumers, the environment, the trade unions, and SMEs.
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