SBS responds to European Court of Justice ruling on public access to harmonised standards

SBS responds to European Court of Justice ruling on public access to harmonised standards

EU Court ruling on free access to standards must not disadvantage SMEs

Brussels, 06 March 2024 – SBS stresses that the landmark ruling delivered yesterday by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the case “C-588/21 P – Public.Resource.Org and Right to Know v Commission and Others”, addressing the free access to harmonised standards, must not lead to negative impacts on SMEs’ participation in standardisation work.

The ruling marks a pivotal moment in shaping the future of the European standardisation system and is likely to bring significant changes. Although the exact implications of the ruling and how it will be implemented are still unfolding, SBS emphasises the need to safeguard SMEs from any direct or indirect adverse effects on their participation in standardisation work.

While the ruling of the court on the accessibility of mandatory and harmonised standards provides SMEs with direct and public access to documents previously only available for purchase, SBS cautions against pitfalls that may emerge. It is of paramount importance to prevent a scenario where any loss of revenue from the sale of harmonised standards is offset by increased prices of other standards and/or higher participation fees in the national mirror committees contributing to their development, both of which would gravely hinder SMEs’ participation in standardisation.

Important questions lie ahead concerning the implications of the ruling on the principles of the New Legislative Framework (NLF) and the potential decoupling of European and international standards, which could disrupt SMEs’ ability to operate outside the EU/EEA area.

SBS stands ready to engage with the broader European standardisation community to discuss the consequences of the ECJ ruling and its implementation. Maitane Olabarria, SBS Secretary General, commented: “European standards are vital for SMEs to benefit from the single market. SBS stands firmly behind the current European Standardisation system and its core principles. We will only be able to fully assess the practical implications of the ruling in the next weeks. Our primary concern is to prevent potential revenue losses from harmonised standards lead to increased costs elsewhere in the system, particularly those directly impacting SMEs.”

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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.