SME’s call for greater inclusiveness in standardisation

The European organisation representing the interests of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, Small Business Standard (SBS), held its Annual Conference on “Reinforcing the cooperation amongst the standardisation community” in Brussels on 19 October.

ECOS Director Laura Degallaix took part in the panel discussion on the implementation of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012, aimed to make the European Standardisation System more effective, transparent and inclusive, alongside speakers from the ‘Annex III’ organisations ANEC, ETUC, SBS, as well as with the European Commission Director General for Industry, and the European Standardisation Organisation for ICT, ETSI.

ECOS expressed a general disappointment regarding the state of implementation of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012, which was echoed by representatives of other ‘Annex III organisations’. The lack of major changes in the standard development process which could enable underrepresented stakeholders to participate more effectively was particularly criticised. At European level, the European Standardisation Organisations have been holding up the establishment of a separate category of membership for the societal stakeholders and SMEs, which would allocate more appropriate rights to be able to influence the process. As for the national level, too little has been done by national standard bodies to foster the participation of national NGOs, trade unions, and SMEs in the process. National standard bodies still work individually and differently from one another, despite identified best practices ready to be rolled-out. These include removing financial and technical barriers such as free of charge participation, non-restricted access to documents and technical work etc. Participants also pointed out the need for Regulation (EU) 1025/2012 to work in coherence with, instead of isolated from, other legislation and policies such as on market surveillance (Regulation (EC) No 765/2008). Participants further stressed the importance of looking at the bigger picture, especially with regards to the increasing trend for international standardisation. As it stands, this has a negative impact on inclusiveness and transparency, jeopardising having European standards that meet the needs of European SMEs nor European citizens and the environment.

For more information, please see the SBS Press Release here.

Photograph: © Witness Images