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On 23 January, SBS Secretary General Maitane Olabarria was among the speakers in the hearing organised by the IMCO Committee on “Standardisation in the Single Market”. The hearing took place in the context of the IMCO Committee's report on the standardisation strategy produced by Mr Adam Bielan, MEP (ECR, PL).
Ms Olabarria was among the speakers in the first panel of the hearing, along with the European Commission’s Chief Standardisation Officer, Ms Maive Rute, the Director General of CEN-CENELEC, Ms Elena Santiago and the Director General of ETSI, Mr Luis Jorge Romero. The panel analysed the current strengths and challenges of the European standardisation system and discussed possible measures to improve its governance and make it fitter for purpose.
Following the positions outlined in the SBS position paper on the standardisation strategy. Ms Olabarria raised several points regarding standardisation and SME involvement.
A primary focus should be the greater inclusiveness of the European standardisation system. While there have been advances towards inclusiveness, there is still room for improvement to ensure the effective representation of SMEs in standardisation.
Increasing SME participation at the national and international levels is as important as strengthening inclusiveness at the European level. One of the measures announced in the standardisation strategy is a peer review process between Member States and national standards bodies to identify best practices and those areas where SME participation could be further improved. SBS believes this process should be launched as soon as possible, and that resources should also be available at the national level to support the participation of SMEs in standardisation.
Regarding international standardisation, the effective participation of European SMEs in this area continues to be a major challenge and measures to increase the inclusiveness of international standardisation should be pursued. Inclusiveness could be strengthened by, for example, using cooperation agreements with international Standards Bodies to ensure the automatic access of Annex III organisations to international technical committees leading the work on future common European and international standards.
She also stressed the need for a stronger focus in the strategy on the uptake of standards, especially among SMEs and the need to avoid an excessive proliferation of standards.