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2011/0150(COD) - 27/10/2015 Follow-up document

This Commission Staff Working Document concerns the Vademecum on European standardisation.

To recall, Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 on European standardisation is the legal basis for the Commission’s requests to the European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs) to draw up European standards or European standardisation deliverables in support of Union legislation and policies.

The document consists of three parts relating to standardisation requests:

Part I on the role of the Commission’s standardisation requests to the European standardisation organisations: the objective of this document is to ensure a common understanding of the role of Commission’s standardisation requests (‘mandates’) to the ESOs and the role and responsibilities of the various actors in planning, preparing and executing these requests.

This part concentrates in particular on:

  • the concept of a standardisation request;
  • the conditions for issuing a standardisation request;
  • a standardisation request as an implementing act, implications of non-compliance with a standardisation request;
  • the validity of a standardisation request;
  • revisions to European standards supporting Union legislation.

It is addressed to all actors of the European standardisation system (ESS) and in particular to Commission officials, public authorities in the Member States and EFTA countries, the ESOs, the national standardisation bodies (NSBs) and all stakeholders in European standardisation.

Conclusions: the document concludes that during the standardisation work and after the ESOs have adopted the deliverables, the Commission must respect, in its guidance and assessment, the requirements of relevant sectoral legislation or policy and as given in its request. Should the relevant Union legislation or policy evolve during execution of a request having effect to standardisation needs, the Commission should amend the request in line with Article 10(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012.

Part II on the preparation and adoption of the Commission’s standardisation requests: this document clarifies the principles to be followed in the drafting and adoption of Commission standardisation requests to European standardisation organisations.

It is addressed to Commission officials and is structured as follows:

  • guidance on preparation and adoption procedures;
  • generic drafting guidance;
  • the model structure for a request;
  • some basic information on the execution phase.

Conclusions: on the issue of timing, in some cases, a standardisation request is intended to support the application of Union legislation or policy that is still under consideration in the Council and in the European Parliament on the basis of a Commission proposal. The preparation work should start while these discussions are ongoing, or even before. By submitting a standardisation request to examination procedure in the Committee on Standards or adopting it before the new legislation is formally approved by the legislator or published in the Official Journal, the Commission can save time in carrying out the standardisation work and implementing the legislation. However, it should evaluate carefully case by case whether this is possible or advisable.

An optimistic minimum lead time from the launch of inter-service consultation (ISC) procedures until final notification of the ESO(s) is at least four months.

Part III on guidelines for the ESOs’ execution of standardisation requests: this document sets out guidelines for the execution of standardisation requests which have been accepted by the European standardisation organisations (ESOs). It is addressed to the ESOs and their technical bodies or equivalent drafting entities and should be applied consistently during execution of all requests. The approach taken and the underlying principles are aimed at:

  • enabling efficient and timely drafting and adoption of standardisation requests and thus prompt availability of European standards or European standardisation;
  • promoting effective project planning, transparent reporting and efficient follow-up during the execution of requests;
  • ensuring transparent access to requested-work programmes;
  • setting conditions for amending requested-work programmes;
  • promoting transparent, market-relevant and SME-friendly harmonised standards and standardisation processes taking account of the public interest.

Conclusions: the ESOs should inform the Commission if they intend to withdraw a harmonised European standard referred to in the Official Journal on the basis that it no longer reflects the ‘state of the art’ or has become obsolete and they do not intend to revise it or publish a new harmonised standard to supersede it.