In the second half of 2021, the European Commission and the European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs) created a task force to define solutions to speed up the adoption of crucial standards. In this context, a workshop entitled “Timely delivery of European standards for a green and digital, single and global market” was organised by the Commission and the ESOs on 16 November. SBS President Gunilla Almgren delivered a speech at the workshop highlighting the importance of harmonised standards for SMEs in Europe. SMEs need up-to-date standards to maintain their competitiveness and growth potential by ensuring that their products comply with EU legislation. Indeed, using alternatives to standards can be very costly and sometimes uncertain.
Ms. Almgren underlined that to remove the obstacles to the citation of harmonised standards, clear and stable criteria for their assessment need to be defined so that delays in their development and subsequent citation can be avoided. A common understanding and harmonised views on these criteria from all the relevant stakeholders are also essential.
She also pointed out that the timely delivery of European standards and better anticipation of future standardisation needs are of paramount importance. Practical experience shows, however, that the time gained by working in parallel is often lost in adapting draft standards due to rapidly changing requirements. It is therefore important to find an appropriate approach to anticipate needs without having to redo the work. In this context, the SBS president highlighted the need for:
• close dialogue at an early stage between the standardisation bodies, the Commission and stakeholders to identify standardisation needs
• a certain degree of flexibility in standardisation requests
• realistic transition periods in relation to new or amended legislation to ensure that the standards supporting its implementation are available on time.