The objective of European standardization is to agree on common specifications and/or procedures that respond to the needs of business and meet consumer expectations.
Standards are part of the knowledge economy that underpins European industry and society. They facilitate innovation and promote the adoption of new technologies.
European Standardization is a key instrument for the consolidation of the Single Market and for strengthening the competitiveness of European companies, thereby creating the conditions for economic growth.
European Standards are a valuable tool for facilitating cross-border trade – both within Europe’s single market and also with the rest of the world. They reduce unnecessary costs for both suppliers and purchasers of products and services – in the public and private sectors.
Standards can be used to improve safety and performance, raise levels of energy efficiency, and protect consumers, workers and the environment. They complement European and national policies in these areas, and make it easier for companies and other actors to respect relevant legislation.
CEN and CENELEC are international non-profit associations. They are officially recognized as European Standardization Organisations (alongside ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute).
CEN, CENELEC and their national members and committees work jointly to develop and define standards that are considered necessary by market actors and/or to support the implementation of European legislation.
A majority of European Standards are initiated by business and developed in partnership with other stakeholders. Around 30% are mandated by the European Commission in the framework of EU legislation.
The European Standardization System is unique in the world. After the publication of a European Standard, each national standards body or committee is obliged to withdraw any national standard which conflicts with the new European Standard. Hence, one European Standard becomes the national standard in all the 33 member countries of CEN and/or CENELEC.