Standards for a single market

The benefits of a Single Market

The removal of barriers to trade between countries and regions, to create ‘Single Markets’, has been a major ambition of governments in recent years.

The abolition of technical, legal and bureaucratic obstacles leads to larger markets. This results in:

  • economies of scale
  • increased competition
  • economic growth
  • lower prices
  • more consumer choice

Other benefits include greater freedom of movement of people, goods, services and money, which are all vital in today’s economies.

The creation of a European Single Market is a central policy of the European Union.

The role of standards in a Single Market

The creation of Single Markets is driven in the first instance by political initiatives and legislation. These can only be effective if they are supported by other mechanisms that turn the political will into practical action. One of the key mechanisms is standardization.

Standards, such as those produced by ETSI, contribute to single market initiatives by proposing commonly-agreed technical solutions that lead to harmonization.

ETSI produces Harmonised Standards to support European Directives related to:

  • Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE, being replaced by a Radio Equipment Directive)
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
  • access to emergency services 

A list of ETSI Harmonised Standards cited in the Official Journal of the European Union is available on our website.

We also contribute to safety standards produced in our sister European Standardization Organization, CENELEC.

All Member States of the European Union must allow a product to be placed on the market and used in their territories if it complies with the relevant Directives. Harmonised Standards enable manufacturers, suppliers, networks operators and others to prove their products’ compliance with the relevant Directives.

We also support the Single European Sky initiative by preparing Community Specifications for the civil aviation sector in co-operation with the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment, EUROCAE.

Who benefits from harmonized markets for ICT?

Harmonized markets benefit many different communities. For Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), these include:

  • Manufacturers can sell the same equipment to many customers, in many countries. Working with one set of technical requirements (i.e. standards) which are widely recognized, manufacturers are not obliged to adapt their products to comply with requirements set by each individual country.
  • Network operators can construct networks from equipment built by various different manufacturers and are not tied to a single supplier. They can increase the effective coverage of their networks by connecting with other operators (including those in other countries), thus increasing their customer base and improving the services they provide.
  • Consumers can buy equipment from various manufacturers, and services from different operators, with a wide choice of price and performance.
  • Developers can spread their investment and minimize the risks involved in the development of new products and services.
  • Investors can benefit from increased market size, reduced costs and shared risks.