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2011/0150(COD) - 01/06/2016 Follow-up document

The Commission presents a report on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 from 2013 to 2015.

The report assesses the performance of the European Standardisation System (ESS) including the implementation of the Regulation since its entry into force in 2013, in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value. It includes:

  • analysis of the implementation of the Regulation, through the reports provided by the European standardisation organisations (ESOs) and the Annex III organisations concerning the years 2013 and 2014;
  • an evaluation of the relevance of standardisation activities receiving Union financing;
  • an assessment of opportunities for simplifying the financing of European standardisation and reducing the administrative burden.

Bearing in mind the importance of standardisation as a way to harmonise the single market and of its impact on the competitiveness of the EU economy, this evaluation is linked to the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT).

Effectiveness: the report notes that the Regulation has increased the contribution of standards and European standardisation to a better functioning of the internal market, stimulating growth and innovation and fostering the competitiveness of EU enterprises, especially SMEs.

Steps have been taken to improve the transparency of the development of the Commission's standardisation requests in support of EU legislations and policies and the participation of SMEs and underrepresented stakeholders. The Regulation also facilitates the exploitation of the potential of innovative ICT technologies and contributes to the realisation of the single market.

In the ICT domain, the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) generates the ICT Rolling Plan as a collaborative tool to bring together the Commission and the ICT standardisation stakeholders – EU and global- and to increase their coordination and cooperation.

Efficiency: the report notes that the current data does not allow for a complete and comprehensive analysis of the efficiency of the ESS, as they are influenced by the activities supported by the Commission within the new framework of the Regulation. 

Following the invitation from the Council to analyse the impact of standardisation on the economy, and taking into account the interest of all the parties, the Commission envisages launching a study in good time to analyse the results in the next report, which should be in 2020.

Next steps: the report stresses that the Regulation has brought significant improvements in the ESS due to: (i) the timely availability of standards requested by the Commission, (ii) the early involvement of stakeholders, (iii) the creation of consensus around the standardisation requests under preparation, and (iv) the improvement in the quality and detail of the requests issued.

Overall, no major problem in the application of the Regulation had been identified, but there are some areas that could be improved, e.g.:

  • the need to take better advantage of the early identification of standardisation needs and failures in the early launch of standardisation activities;
  • overcoming barriers for SMEs to taking part in standardisation and/or in applying standards;
  • remedying gaps in Commission communication on the standardisation process;
  • the need for information for all the stakeholders on the standardisation work ongoing or planned;
  • complex procedures including reporting obligations and number of steps/actors involved;
  • remedying gaps in communication between the Commission and the ESOs during the standardisation process;
  • the lack of alignment between the Commission and standardisers in the phase during which there are compliance checks;
  • dealing with conflicting national standards remaining;
  • different layers in standardisation and the need to adapt the approach to different requirements;
  • identification of needs in sectors not covered by standardisation (e.g. services);
  • the need for better patents declaration framework.

The Commission will consider how to best tackle these matters, in particular through the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (presented in the context of the single market strategy) that aims at promoting the coherent implementation of the Regulation through non-legislative actions in co-operation with the main actors of the ESS.

The Joint Initiative on Standardisation will also explore how the gap between research/innovation priorities and European standardisation could be analysed in a more systematic and forward-looking way and more effectively bridged.

In conclusion, the Commission feels that there is no justification for revising the Regulation at this time. It will revisit the situation five years after completion of the present evaluation, in the context of the report that it will present to the Council and to the European Parliament on the implementation of the Regulation.