Script of the video message of CEN and CENELEC Director General, Elena Santiago:
Welcome to the new CEN CENELEC website, which we hope will be a useful source of information for everyone who wants to know about standards -- what they are, why we need them and how to use them. We also want to make it easier for people to learn about how standards are being developed, and how various stakeholders can contribute to this process.
For the first time we are bringing together in one place information about the activities of CEN and CENELEC, which -- alongside ETSI -- are the main organisations responsible for developing and defining standards at European level. These European standards apply to all kinds of products and services across a wide range of sectors such as chemicals, construction, energy, food, health and safety, household appliances, machinery and transport -- just to mention a few examples.
CEN and CENELEC have already been working closely together for many years, and we now have a common management centre in Brussels, as well as a number of joint committees and working groups. There is also close collaboration between the members of CEN and CENELEC, who are the national bodies and electrotechnical committees responsible for standards in 32 countries: all of the EU member states plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
By having common standards that are the same for all European countries, it means that the single market can work more effectively and it creates a level playing field for business. This makes it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to enter new markets, expand their activities across borders and compete with much larger companies. It also creates new opportunities for companies in different countries to cooperate and ensure that their products are compatible with each other -- making life easier for everyone.
2012 (Twenty twelve) is an important year for CEN and CENELEC. The European Parliament and the Council will both consider the Commission's proposal for a new regulation on European standardization, which was published last summer. This gives us an opportunity to highlight the key role that standards play in supporting the single market and creating the conditions for economic growth by promoting international trade and competitiveness, thereby contributing to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
We will continue to cooperate with the European Commission on finding ways to reinforce the links between standardization, research and innovation, in order to make sure that standards take account of the latest research results and new technologies. This is especially important in the context of Horizon 2020, the next EU programme for research and innovation, which will be launched in 2014 (twenty fourteen).
Standards can also contribute to meeting the needs of society, and this year we will give particular priority to promoting accessibility, with the aim of making sure that products and services can be used by everyone -- including people with all kinds of disabilities. The issue of accessibility in relation to older people is particularly relevant this year, because 2012 (twenty twelve) has been named by the EU as the European Year for Active Ageing.
We will continue our efforts to make the standardization process more inclusive, and especially to increase the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises at both national and European levels. We will also develop practical solutions to support the participation of other stakeholders, including organisations representing the interests of consumers, workers and the environment -- all of which are taking part in our new Societal Stakeholders Group.
We will reinforce our cooperation with standards bodies in neighbouring countries and major trading partners such as China, India, Russia, the United States and others. By engaging in regular dialogue with our partners, we can cooperate on developing mutually compatible standards and reach agreements on common standards at international level. This also benefits European companies who want to export their products and services around the world, and gain access to new consumers in emerging markets.
If you would like to be kept informed about our activities, I invite you to join the mailing list for our newsletter Connect. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Standards are everywhere -- even if we are not always aware of them. I hope you will help us to spread the good news about the benefits that standards bring to businesses and consumers on a daily basis. Thank you.