Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2019

Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2019

Successful SBS annual conference on standards for sustainable growth in Europe

Sustainability is a key priority for SMEs in Europe. With this in mind, the fifth annual Small Business Standards conference, held on 23 May in the BIP in Brussels, focused on how SMEs could contribute to two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With SMEs making up over 99% of all EU businesses and the ‘climate emergency’ taking centre stage, now is the best time to examine the supporting role of standards in driving the EU’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-neutral, resource-efficient and biodiverse economy.The conference featured a number of speakers and stakeholders active in standardisation in European and national institutions, from industries as diverse as soundproofing, tourism development and printing.As in previous years, real-world case studies were presented highlighting both the realised potential of SMEs in the standardisation process, and barriers to participation.  As such, the two panels engaged participants and audiences alike in an informative and thought-provoking discussion on this timely issue.While the first panel focused on ‘Standards and SMEs for sustainable cities and communities’ linked to SDG 11, the second panel addressed the role of standards and SMEs in responsible consumption and production linked to SDG 12.One of the main conclusions is that European SMEs are very much driving the sustainability agenda. However, the majority of those in technical Working Groups responsible for drafting standards are from larger companies, and focus mainly on the technical properties of a given product. These experts do not prioritise sustainability or consider the effect of the standard on the local economy.

The role of SBS has therefore been to enable experts with another viewpoint to participate in drafting standards.

View the conference pictures (©Laurent Brandajs)

German action concerning the annulment of harmonised standards EN 14342:2013 and EN 14904:2013 rejected by the European Court of Justice
On 19 April 2017, Germany (supported by Finland) brought an action (Case T-229/17) against the European Commission to:
  • annul Commission Decision (EU) 2017/133 of 25 January 2017 on the maintenance with a restriction in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) of the reference of harmonised standard EN 14342:2013 ‘Wood flooring and parquet: Characteristics, evaluation of conformity and marking’ in accordance with the Construction Products Regulation (CPR, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011)
  • annul Commission Decision (EU) 2017/145 of 25 January 2017 on the maintenance with a restriction in the OJEU of the reference of harmonised standard EN 14904:2006 ‘Surfaces for sports areas — Indoor surfaces for multi-sports use: Specification’ in accordance with the CPR
  • annul the European Commission communication in the framework of the implementation of the CPR, in so far as it relates to harmonised standard EN 14342:2013 ‘Wood flooring and parquet: Characteristics, evaluation of conformity and marking’
  • annul the European Commission communication in the framework of the implementation of the CPR, in so far as it relates to harmonised standard EN 14904:2006 ‘Surfaces for sports areas — Indoor surfaces for multi-sports use: Specification’
  • order the European Commission to pay the costs.

The European Court of Justice rejected the German action in its judgment of 10 April 2019, ruling that the European Commission did not infringe the CPR when it excluded from citation the sentences referring to dangerous substances in the two above-mentioned harmonised standards. The outcome of the judgment will be considered in the assessment of the CPR currently being undertaken by the European Commission.

Germany can still appeal the judgment. It is not yet known whether they will do so.

The judgment is currently only available in French and German. For more information: Curia Europa website

Luis Jorge Romero re-elected as Director General of ETSI

Luis Jorge Romero was re-elected as Director General of ETSI in April. Luis Jorge has held the position since 2011 and his appointment has been renewed for another five years.

SBS is confident that Luis Jorge will continue working together with SBS and relevant stakeholders to promote inclusiveness as a guiding principle of ETSI’s work. With the assistance of ETSI’s Secretary General and his team, SBS will continue to promote the importance of European SMEs for the competitiveness of the European economy and the supporting role played by globally influential European standardisation.

Setting ICT Standardisation priorities for the year: The Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation 2019

The European Commission released the latest version of the annual Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation, which identifies areas in which ICT standardisation can support the objectives of EU policies in four broader thematic areas: key enablers and security, societal challenges, innovation for the digital single market, and sustainable growth.

The Rolling Plan is developed by the European Commission and the Multi Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation (MSP), in which SBS is an active participant. SBS is looking forward to further improving European standardisation efforts through its continued engagement with the Rolling Plan and the Multi Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation.

Read the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation 2019

SBS Lift Forum on digitalisation

The third annual SBS Lift Forum took place on 23 May 2019 in Brussels. This year’s topic was how digitalisation can have a positive impact in the day-to-day work of SMEs in the lift sector, and how this global phenomenon can also create risks and threats to their security.

This year’s speakers and audience members included representatives from the European Commission and SMEunited, as well as experts from different European organisations involved in the lift sector and owners of SMEs, who presented case studies to explain their work on digitalisation. This twofold approach, more theoretical in the morning and more practical in the afternoon, allowed both the speakers and the participants to discover new aspects and sides of digitalisation.
SBS representatives raise awareness about challenges SMEs face in standardisation

At the International Detergency Conference in Düsseldorf (Germany), SBS board member Andreas Schumacher and SBS expert on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Andrea Rechtsteiner offered insights into the challenges SMEs face in their work on standardisation.

Mr Schumacher emphasised the need for direct involvement in the development and drafting of legislation and standards. Addressing representatives from textile care companies who attended the event, Mr Schumacher asked for more cooperation among companies.

In a separate presentation, Ms Rechtsteiner highlighted concrete standardisation projects that would require special attention from the textile care industry. Ms Rechtsteiner circulated a new guideline document for the selection, use, care and maintenance of protective clothing, bearing in mind the new PPE regulation that entered into force on 21 April 2018.

New PPE regulation: The Commission clarifies on how products can be placed on the market

The CEN PPE working group meeting in March made it clear that the removal of the reference to a new harmonised standard from the Official Journal of the European Union after it was superseded by a newer version does not automatically invalidate existing certificates issued by authorised bodies. However, manufacturers must carry out a specific assessment on the extent of the changes in the new version of the standard they used, in particular whether these changes are significant with regard to vital health and safety requirements. This assessment should be discussed with the relevant authorised body.

Products in compliance with the PPE Directive that were placed on the market before 21 April 2019 can continue to be marketed after 20 April 2019. PPE can be considered as “placed on the market” when it is effectively offered for distribution, consumption or use. The physical handover of these products is not necessary for them to be considered as “placed on the market”.

Further information can be found on the European Commission website:


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.