The new strategic approach to standardization in the European Union, presented by the European Commission in February 2022, aims to strengthen the EU's global competitiveness, enable a resilient green and digital economy and establish European values in technology applications. The strategy is accompanied by a proposal to amend the Regulation on standardization and the Union Work Program for European Standardization 2022.
Standards in goods and services are considered of being the silent foundation of the EU Single Market and global competitiveness. Standards are fostering competitiveness and efficiency by reducing trading costs, simplifying contractual agreements and increasing quality. They also facilitate the introduction of innovative products provided by the interoperability between new and existing products, services and processes, for example in the field of eco-design, energy efficiency of buildings, security and e-mobility. Traders benefit from standards as they improve market access, eliminate technical barriers to trade and enhance cooperation at international level. Standards in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) improve security, authenticity and reliability of ICT equipment. Data standards will enhance data interoperability, data sharing and data re-use in support of the Common European Data Spaces.
Given the fast pace of innovation at global level, EU’s green and digital ambition and the implication of standards on EU’s values, the Commission notes the need for an increasingly strategic approach to standardization. European standards are needed to deliver on EU’s ambitions towards a more digital, climate neutral, resilient and circular economy. As other regions increase their global impact by being more strategic and assertive, it will also be crucial for the EU to maintain a strong global presence in standardization activities in order to remain a global standard setter. By setting global standards, the EU exports its values while providing EU companies with an important first mover advantage.
The Strategy focuses on five key sets of actions
Anticipate, prioritize and address standardization needs in strategic areas: To deliver standards faster in line with EU’s policy agenda and innovation a High-level Forum will be set-up to inform on standardization priorities. Clear standardization priorities will be identified in annual EU work programs for European standardization starting with 2022. A Chief Standardization Officer will ensure guidance across the Commission on standardization activities.
Improve the governance and integrity to the European standardization system: The Commission notes that European standards supporting European policies and legislation must be decided by European stakeholders, while maintaining an open, transparent, inclusive and impartial standardization system. To this end, the Commission proposes an amendment to the Standardization Regulation to improve the governance of the system, providing that mandates from the European Commission to the European standardization organizations must be handled by the delegates of the national standardization bodies of the EU and EEA Member States. The Commission will pay close attention to the inclusiveness of the system and the role of the civil and private sector.
Enhance European Leadership in global standards: Through the High-Level Forum, the Commission will set-up a new mechanism with member states to share information, coordinate and strengthen European approach to standardization. It will also pursue more coordination between EU member states and like-minded partners and fund standardization projects in Africa and neighborhood countries.
Support Innovation: The Commission proposes to strengthen the link between EU funded research and standardization activities through the development of a code of practice for researchers on standardization which will be developed by mid-2022.
Enable the next generation of standardization experts: The Commission will promote more academic awareness on standards.
The 2022 annual EU work program for European standardization can be found here, the following may be of interest to electrical wholesalers:
Review existing standards to identify needs for revisions or development of new standards to meet the objectives of the European Green Deal and Europe’s Digital Decade and support the resilience of the EU single market;
Smart contracts for data spaces;
Eco-design and energy labelling of light sources (fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps, luminaires able to operate such lamps, luminaires for office lighting);
Eco-design and energy labelling of photovoltaic products (modules, inverters and systems);
Eco-design of air-to-air air conditioners and heat pumps;
Construction products, in particular for those supporting the renovation of the buildings;
Safe and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems;
Digital passports for products and services;
Standards in support of blockchain services infrastructure.