Newsletter – Issue 4 – 2018

Newsletter – Issue 4 – 2018

Successful SBS-ECOS seminar on the use of standards in policy

On 12 June 2018, SBS and ECOS (European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation) ran a joint workshop at the headquarters of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. Entitled ‘The use of standards in policy: is there an elephant in the room?’, this event gave policy-makers, experts and interested parties the chance to discuss the role of effective and appropriate standards in European law and policy-making. The discussion centred round the case of James Elliott, in which the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that harmonised European standards are part of EU law.

The first panel was entitled ‘Standards for the free movement of goods: the inconvenient truth?’ Participants included SBS, trade unions, academics, the European Commission and the German Government. The discussion looked at how standards are used and evaluated by policy-makers in the context of the Single Market and whether there are any loopholes in the New Approach. The panel also considered the involvement of lawmakers in developing standards.

The second panel was entitled ‘The use of standards in policy: is there a perfect match?’ Participants included the president of the ECOS and representatives from universities, the European Commission, the Belgian Government, the European Committee for standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical standardisation (CENELEC). The panel discussed whether and how standards should be used to support policy-making in contexts outside the Single Market for goods.

The seminar’s main conclusion was that the CJEU ruling was not entirely clear on the legal situation. As a result, there is a need for trust and confidence in the process and its outcomes, with transparency and inclusiveness at all levels, plus proper control and monitoring of the system as a whole.

Download the follow-up documents.

First meeting of the High-Level Institutional Dialogue

On 7 June 2018, the European Commission organised the first meeting of the High-Level Institutional Dialogue, which was set up under the Standardisation Package published in 2016. Representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, European Economic and Social Committee and Committee of Regions shared their views and discussed with key stakeholders the future priorities of the European standardisation system.

Véronique Willems of UEAPME and Christel Davidson from SBS attended as SME representatives. While Ms Willems stressed the importance of capacity building, Ms Davidson insisted on the fact that SMEs are not always in a position to participate in the standardisation process. Therefore, the process must be designed to ensure that SMEs’ interests are taken into account: this includes whenever possible the development of relevant tools, such as a SME compatibility test for standards. opens its second call for ICT standardisation experts, which stands for ‘Supporting European Experts Presence in International Standardisation Activities in ICT’, is a programme that addresses the increasing need for ICT standards. It also reinforces the presence of European experts on the international ICT standardisation scene.

The second of 10 cycles of open calls was launched on 5 June 2018. Professionals with proven expertise and experience in standardisation activities have until 4 August this year to send their application and to receive funding for their contribution to standards development, as chair or member of a standards development organisation.

This second call follows the priority areas outlined in the 2018 Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation. These are 5G (the newest generation of wireless systems), Cloud Computing (the technology that helps to store and access data and programs over the Internet), Internet of Things, Cybersecurity and Big Data.

For more information about the open call, click here.

SBS increases its participation in the Notified Bodies – Lifts

On 30 May 2018, in Brussels, SBS participated in the Horizontal Coordination meeting of the Notified Bodies–Lifts (NB-L) during which the members discussed over the latest drafted version of the Guide to Application of the Lifts Directive with Mr Vesa Katajisto (European Commission, DG GROW) and heard about the CEN TC 10 work programme by its Chairman, Mr Esfandiar Gharibaan.

However, the core purpose of the meeting was the renewal of the tasks of the ad-hoc working groups by the NB-L President, Mr Franck Lesage. After having presented the tasks, he appointed SBS to the ad-hoc working group “Lifts”, the most important one under the NB-L coordination. From now on, SBS will monitor the activities of this group and work on steering its decision in favour of SMEs, starting from the application of all Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the Lifts Directives for the certification of safety components.

Successful intervention of SBS at the meetings of Notified Bodies on PPE standardisation

On 30 May, SBS attended the meeting of the Horizontal Committee of the Notified Bodies – PPE and raised the concerns of the textile care industry on technical sheets (the ‘Recommendations for Use’). These sheets aim at providing a common interpretation on practical issues relating to implementation of the PPE Regulation.

One of these technical sheets referred to a 5-years limit for test reports that is not prescribed by the PPE Regulation and that would cause unnecessary costs for manufacturers, with SMEs clearly most impacted. Thanks to the SBS intervention, the document was withdrawn and its content will be redrafted to provide meaningful guidance to manufacturers.

Other discussions concerned the transitional period from the old PPE Directive to the new Regulation. It was reaffirmed that, until 20 April 2019, both regimes will be applicable, while national market surveillance authorities raised several questions about the validity of European Commission-type examination certificates.


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.