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The European Commission endorses the role of standards in the new Industrial Strategy

06/05/2021

On 5 May, the European Commission (EC) published the Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery. It highlights the ambitions of the European Union (EU) for the evolution towards climate neutrality, digital leadership, autonomy based on economic and technological sovereignty, resilience and innovation. They are key aspects for mitigating the impact of the pandemic and relaunching European industry by ensuring the free movement of goods and services in the single market.

The European Commission recognises in the document the important role of standards in contributing to the ambitions and challenges presented. Standards provide benefits to organisations and consumers, increasing quality and safety, improving transparency, reducing costs and opening markets to companies.

Standards are an effective tool to promote Europe's economic recovery and are fundamental to addressing the challenges in the ecosystems identified in the Industrial Strategy.

The EC announces that it will explore the benefits of a legislative proposal to regulate key services based on harmonised standards.

With regard to the Digital Transition, global leadership in technology is considered to be in the hands of leadership in defining standards that ensure interoperability. Global convergence in the same international standards will help reduce adaptation costs and strengthens the European Union in global value chains.

For the EU to retain its influence in setting global standards, its own standardisation system, a core of the Single Market, has to function in an agile and efficient way.In fields such as hydrogen, batteries, offshore wind energy, safe chemicals, cybersecurity or space data, European and international standards are needed to guarantee digital and green transitions. Ensuring EU leadership in international standards in these areas is a critical issue for the competitiveness and resilience of European industry.

In turn, the EC will present a Standardisation Strategy. This strategy will support a more assertive position of European interests in standardisation. A Joint Task Force between the Commission and European Standardisation Organisation (ESOs) will define agreed solutions to adopt in a fast manner those standards identified as crucial. The Commission will also pay particular attention to anticipating standardisation needs that support the green and digital transition of industrial ecosystems.

In conclusion, European standardisation is a key tool in which authorities, Member States, industry, consumers and all stakeholders work seeking consensus to develop standards that meet the needs of the markets, serve to sustain the Single Market and help to deploy public policies, seeking the well-being of citizens.

In this same vein, UNE, together with numerous sectoral associations, is working within the framework of the joint task force to boost the Industrial Strategy of the High-Level Forum of Spanish Industry of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MINCOTUR) to optimise the role of standardisation both in the State Pact for Industry and in the future draft Industry Law.