Role in Europe

Supporting European regulation and legislation

We are recognized by the European Union (EU) as an official European Standards Organization (ESO) under Regulation 1025/2012. Our work supports the policies of the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In particular we produce standards to support European regulation and legislation which are defined in Regulations, Directives and Decisions developed by the EU.

Specifically, we produce Harmonised Standards (European Standards (ENs) with a special status). By adhering to these standards, manufacturers and service providers can claim ‘presumption of conformity’ with the essential requirements of a directive (by self-declaration) rather than having to go through costly type approval processes in different Members States. Manufacturers can also then use the well recognized CE marking for their products. This helps ensure the free movement of goods within the Single European Market and enables enterprises in the EU to be more competitive.

The EC and EFTA ask us to develop Harmonised Standards and to undertake other activities in ‘mandates’. Mandates are statements of policy which contain proposals for related standardization work. They often support legislative initiatives.

Co-operation between the ESOs

We work in close co-operation with CEN and CENELEC, the other two ESOs, especially on matters which are the subject of an EC standardization mandate. Although the three ESOs deal with different sectors, we have common interests. With the convergence of Information Technology and telecommunications, we need to co-ordinate our policies and our work programmes to avoid overlapping activities and to increase efficiency.

ETSI, CEN and CENELEC have had a joint co-operation agreement in place since 1990 but our collaboration was intensified when we signed a new agreement in May 2013. This enables us, for the first time, to create joint technical committees to produce joint standards which will be published by all three bodies.

We manage our co-ordination in the ‘Joint Presidents’ Group’, a forum for top-level agreements between the ESOs on matters of common policy.

Informal exchanges also take place between our technical committees through common members and experts. In some areas there are joint groups to co-ordinate activities. A mapping list of technical cooperation in the Agreements database between the ESOs is periodically updated and maintained jointly by the respective secretariats.

In addition, the ESOs have Seconded European Standardization Experts working in India (the SESEI project) and China (the SESEC project). The aim is to promote co-operation with those countries on standards, related policies and regulation.

National Standards Organizations

We work closely with the National Standards Organizations (NSOs) in the European countries.

In particular, all our ENs become the national standards of the different EU/EFTA member states. The NSOs are responsible for organizing the Public Enquiry in their respective countries as part of the EN approval process and for submission of the national position (the ‘vote’) on the standard.

NSOs can also play an important role in helping us to keep in touch with other organizations and with smaller companies and business start-ups.

The interests of society in standardization

We value the work of the four organizations representing societal stakeholders and SMEs in European standardization, recognized by the European Commission. These organizations represent consumer, environmental and social interests in standardization, as well as the interests of SMEs, and we have developed a specific programme to ensure their opinions are better heard, the 3SI Programme.