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Creating a single innovation market
Commitment 16
Standardisation Strategy for Europe 2020
Innovation Union commitment text

"In early 2011, as a first step, the Commission will present a Communication accompanied by a legislative proposal on standardisation, which will inter alia cover the ICT sector, in order to speed up and modernise standard-setting to enable interoperability and foster innovation in fast-moving global markets. This will be combined with a multi-annual programme to anticipate new standardisation needs and integration of standards into R&D projects in the research Framework Programme. The Communication will also examine options for ensuring in a longer term perspective that the standardisation system is able to adapt to the quickly evolving environment and to contribute to Europe’s strategic internal and external objectives (relating, among others, to innovation and technological development), including through the launch of an independent review."

Patents per Standard as in Technological Class (ICS)
Note: Figure does not include the ETSI disclosures, since the ETSI projects and technical specifications are not included in the PERINORM database and cannot be categorized due to data conformity.
  • What is the problem?
  • What is our objective?
  • Implementation
  • Milestones
  • Background documents
  • Contact

The world has significantly changed since the last version of the European standardisation legislation. In the meanwhile new challenges have appeared requiring the standardisation system to broaden its scope and to be more efficient.

The rapid shortening of innovation cycles and the convergence of technologies across the boundaries of the three European standardisation organisations are a particular challenge. If not able to adapt, the European standardisation system risks becoming irrelevant with companies turning instead to other instruments (as could be seen in the ICT sector) or worse could start to work as a brake on innovation. A dynamic standardisation system is also a pre-condition for the EU to maintain and further reinforce its impact on the setting of standards at global level, where other countries are increasingly seeking to set the rules. Being a first mover on international standardisation gives a competitive advantage that European innovative industries must exploit. In this line it is fundamental to better integrate standardisation within R&D enabling a deeper and faster exploitation of the results whenever possible.

In fields other than "New Approach", European standardisation has not yet fully played the role which it deserves. From an innovation point of view some sectors could benefit from standardisation to reach the market. Services is one area where standards are underexploited.

Europe does not yet reap the maximum benefit from interoperability. Weaknesses in standard-setting, amongst others, prevent digital services and devices used by Europeans from working together as well as they should. The Digital Agenda can only take off if different parts and applications are interoperable and based on standards and open platforms. The lack of formal status of specifications developed by fora and consortia that are widely accepted by all stakeholders prevents Member States from using them for public procurement.

There are profound inequalities between standardisation stakeholders in terms of access to information and technical expertise. For example, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and non-commercial stakeholders rarely have the capacity to take an active part in standardisation work. Despite the consensual mode of establishment of standards, there are risks that standards development may be biased in some cases by an over-representation of specific vested interests.


The main objective is to update European standardisation legislation and policy to face present and future challenges and to better support innovation.

In the short term the goal is to modernise standard setting (making it faster and more inclusive), to extend the use of standardisation as a policy tool to new areas, to arm the Commission with the tools to anticipate standardisation's needs, to enable further integrate standardisation on EU innovation policies.

In a longer term perspective, the initiative should ensure that the standardisation system is able to adapt to the quickly evolving environment and to contribute to Europe’s strategic internal and external objectives (relating, among others, to innovation and technological development).


Through the regulation presented in the standardisation package:

  • Extension of the Directive to services
  • Simplification and more efficient process for mandates and formal objections
  • Member States should support participation of SMEs and non commercial stakeholders
  • Financing of ESOs based on performance criteria (quality, speed...)

Through the implementation of the policies announced in the communication attached to the standardisation package:

  • Integration of standardisation in the Innovation Partnership proposal
  • Creation of annual work programmes for standardisation
  • Integration of standardisation in current and future EU and Member States financing programmes for research and innovation
  • Peer review by ESOs and NSB to monitor the participation of stakeholders
  • Foster the use of fast track deliverables in support of implementation of R&D results
01/06/2011 Adoption of the Standardisation Package by the European Commission
Type: Legislative
30/06/2011 Annual Programme 2012
Type: Communication activities
15/10/2011 Creation of a dedicated multi-stakeholder platform for ICT standardisation
Type: Non-legislative
31/10/2011 Development by the ESOs of the logistics for helping participants in the EU funded Research Programmes to use standardisation
Type: Preparatory activities
31/06/2012 Annual Programme 2013
Type: Communication activities
31/06/2013 Annual Programme 2014
Type: Communication activities
Lead Directorate-General/Unit, Head of Unit

DG ENTR/C5, Renate Weissenhorn

Other Directorates-General/Units associated


Key external partners

The following stakeholders were closely involved in all the preparatory works:

- the European Standards Organisations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI as well as some of their national members

- Industry federations (e.g : BusinessEurope, Orgalime, UEAPME)

- Organisation representing stakeholders in standardisation (ANEC, ECSO, ETUI and NORMAPME)

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