Newsletter – Issue 7 – 2018

Newsletter – Issue 7 – 2018

European Commission Communication on harmonised standards


In late November, the European Commission published a Communication on harmonised standards, as part of its assessment of the situation in the Single Market. The Communication provides an overview of the European standardisation system and how it functions. It also takes into account recent developments on standardisation, including the Joint Initiative and relevant case laws, such as James Elliott Construction (October 2016).

Moreover, the Communication presents four immediate actions that the Commission will undertake to enhance the efficiency, transparency and legal certainty for the actors involved in developing harmonised standards:

  • Eliminate, as rapidly as possible, the remaining backlog of harmonised standards that are not yet published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • Streamline internal decision-making processes, in particular the decision to publish the references to harmonised standards in the Official Journal;
  • Develop a guidance document on the practical aspects of implementing the Standardisation Regulation, in order to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in standardisation;
  • Reinforce, on an on-going basis, the system of consultants to support swift and robust assessments of harmonised standards and timely publication in the Official Journal

    Lisbon seminar attracts 60 participants

    On 12 December, local SMEs benefitted from a seminar to raise their awareness about standards. This day full of engaging and inspiring presentations was co-organised by SBS, the Portuguese Industrial Association (AIP) and the Portuguese Institute of Quality (IPQ).

    During the event, entrepreneurs shared their personal experiences of standards and their thoughts on the potential benefits for companies. The constructive exchange of views between representatives and stakeholders of the Portuguese standardisation system was particularly valuable.

SBS – SMEunited workshop on standardisation


SMEunited, UEAPME’s new name since November 2018, jointly organised a workshop on standardisation with SBS. Held in Brussels on 6 December, it aimed to provide SME organisations’ representatives with knowledge about the European standardisation system, how SMEs can get involved and where to find information on standardisation.

In the afternoon, participants were introduced to available and relevant sources of information and tools on standardisation, and learned how to use these tools during an interactive session. Afterwards, they evaluated the tools and discussed recommendations for business associations on how to cooperate closer with the national and European standardisation bodies.

The goal now is for this workshop’s participants to transfer the knowledge they acquired to other staff members in their association and to SMEs.

Twinning seminar in Graz
On 20 November, representatives of the national standardisation bodies from Austria (ASI) and Slovenia (SIST) met in Graz to discuss ways to improve SMEs’ access to the standardisation process. Jointly organised by SBS and Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, the seminar featured representatives of both national standardisation bodies. Also, in attendance were representatives of CEN-CENELEC and the European Commission, who presented the standardisation activities in the European context, as well as academics and entrepreneurs from different sectors.

In the afternoon, participants looked at concrete examples of how standards can support the implementation of innovative technologies in SMEs.

SBS experts gather for second 2018 meeting in Brussels
More than 30 experts attended the twice-yearly SBS experts’ meeting on 8 November in Brussels.The first part of the meeting addressed the results of the call for experts, the Guide for SBS experts, the SME Compatibility Test, and Successful Negotiation. Part two spotlighted ‘political’ themes, among them the role of HAS consultants, the impact on standardisation of EU court cases, and new standardisation requests.

Challenging the future of construction standardisation
Featuring a packed programme, the SBS Construction Forum was held on 7 November in Brussels. It focused on the SBS information-based approach to dangerous substances, to discover whether SMEs find it workable. There were presentations on what SBS experts active in CEN TCs are expected to do about SMART CE marking, Environmental Product Declarations (EPIs), and how they should respond to future standardisation requests.

Now an annual event, the next Construction Sector Forum is scheduled for November 2019.

Forum offered key insights into PPE and Textile Care standardisation
At the first SBS Forum on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Textile Care, on 7 November, the SBS sectoral associations DTV (German Textile Care Association) and SME Safety discussed SMEs’ contribution to the development of European and international standards. The event featured SMEs active in standardisation, plus representatives of industry, the European Commission and CEN-CENELEC. Participants broadly welcomed a number of recent achievements. These included the textile care sector’s integration as an officially acknowledged stakeholder among those affected by the PPE legislation, and the sector’s contribution to the new EC Guidelines for the implementation of the PPE regulation.

However, the textile care industry and PPE manufacturers still have to deal with the limited number of notified bodies and the unavailability of some harmonised standards. In view of these challenges, SME Safety and DTV finetuned their plan to expand the cooperation among national associations, by presenting a memorandum of understanding. Several textile care associations have already voiced their support for the initiative that aims to build a network and pool of Europe-wide exchange of information, positions and expertise.


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.