The new vision defined in the communication of the EC "European Standards for the 21st Century" goes beyond the traditional way of managing standards on an EU level, which until now has been limited to providing technical support for the needs of harmonisation in the EU. The new overview focuses on how standardisation can contribute to social change and European policies such as promoting innovation, improving quality and safety, encouraging employment and growth, supporting global value chains and developing a single market.
For the European Union, standards and standardisation offer a clear and strategic means to safeguard the competitiveness of the EU. They are also essential tools that can be used to promote innovation and progress within the single market. It is a widely acknowledged fact that standards and standardisation play a crucial role in encouraging economic growth as they stimulate productivity and competition and promote innovation and prosperity. They also help the EU to maintain its position of leadership in matters relating to technical development and global trade.
Standardisation is a key component of the EU's free trade negotiations with non-member states. The Commission seeks to ensure that its partners commit to use innovative international standards in their regulations governing basic products and services in order to ensure the safety and protection of EU citizens and improve the ability of EU companies to compete internationally.
All European standards replace a standard or group of standards of a member state through consolidation into a single instrument. This helps companies and citizens create modern public services and cut red tape and compliance costs.