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The Commission proposal for a legislative review of the European Standardisation Policy – What’s in it for civil society?

Ralf Lottes

elni Review 2011, Issue 2,  pp. 112-116.

On 1st June 2011 the European Commission has published its legislative package for the review of the EU-framework for standardisation consisting of a proposal for a regulation COM(2011) 315/2 and a Commission communication COM(2011) 311/2. While dealing with issues such as enhancing standards for ICT and services and making the standardization process quicker the proposed European Commission (EC) Regulation also tackles the issue of transparency and stakeholder participation (specifically of representatives of SMEs and “societal stakeholders” including environmental NGOs) explicitly calling on the “European standardisation bodies [to] ensure an appropriate representation” of those representatives. The EC Communication promotes the increased use of standards to “address key societal challenges” including climate change and resource efficiency – something the environmental community sees with mixed feelings.
This article focuses on these two aspects. The communication published by the Commission is of immediate effect, although Parliament and Council usually comment it in a resolution or conclusions, respectively. It does not have a legally binding value but includes political action points for the EC (or other actors). The proposal for a regulation is undergoing a co-decision procedure and becomes directly applicable once it comes into force.

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  1. European Commission, 2011, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Standardisation and amending Council Directives 89/686/EEC and 93/15/EEC and Directives 94/9/EC, 94/25/EC, 95/16/EC, 97/23/EC, 98/34/EC, 2004/22/EC, 2007/23/EC, 2009/105/EC and 2009/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, COM(2011) 315 final.
  2. Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations and of rules on Information Society services; OJ 1998 L 204/37.
  3. Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament.