The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) are two distinct private international non-profit organizations.

Our mission is to fulfil the needs of our stakeholders

A variety of stakeholders are involved in CEN and CENELEC work, amongst others business, industry and commerce, service providers, public authorities, regulators, academia and research centres, European trade associations and interest groups representing environmentalists, consumers, trade unions as well as small and medium enterprises, and other public and private institutions.

We are leading providers of voluntary European Standards and related products and services for the benefit of businesses, consumers and other standard users in Europe.

European standards are driven by business and made through a transparent, balanced and consensus-based process in which relevant stakeholders are involved.


We aim to produce high-quality standards for products and services that incorporate quality, safety, environmental, interoperability and accessibility requirements. We adapt proactively to new developments and support European competitiveness, the protection of the environment and sustainable growth for the well-being of citizens and the strengthening of the single market (European Economic Area).


We actively support international standardization, and cooperate closely with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC),  in order to pursue the goal of ‘one standard, one test, accepted everywhere’.



CEN and CENELEC Communities 

More than 200.000 technical experts from industry, associations, public administrations, academia and societal organizations are involved in the CEN and CENELEC network.

The stakeholders of the CEN and CENELEC system are: business, industry and commerce; service providers; consumer, environmental and societal organisations; public authorities and regulators; and other authorities.


Most of these stakeholders are represented in the CEN and CENELEC communities through:

  • 34 national Member countriesnational standardization bodies (CEN) and electrotechnical standardization committees (CENELEC) who constitute the final decision-makers within CEN and CENELEC;
  • European organizationsassociations and federations representing stakeholders such as business, industry, consumers, environmental and societal organizations, etc.;
  • governmental bodies and other authorities, including the European Commission (EC) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA);
  • the Affiliates who are the national standards bodies/committees in countries that are cooperating with the European Union (either as potential candidates or in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy);  special partnership status of standards bodies in other countries (and regions) outside Europe;
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with regions and countries outside the European Union and EFTA;
  • international cooperation with ISO (CEN) and IEC (CENELEC).


More detailed information 



Links with the European Commission and EFTA

The European standardization system, as it is known today, is the result of a long-standing and successful public-private cooperation involving various actors: industries, public authorities, consumers, trade unions etc. The important role that European standards play in the development and consolidation of the European Single Market and the support they provide to other EU policies, create a strong link between standardization and legislation.


These strong links are framed by the New Approach concept. Thirty percent of European standards directly support EU directives and give presumption of conformity to the law. This ensures the production of state-of-the-art, high consensus deliverables, widely accepted by the market, which gives a unique role to European standards.


Therefore a close partnership with the European Commission and the EFTA Secretariat exists and the ESOs benefit from this unique recognition as being the sole European Standards Organizations whose deliverables, the European standards (ENs), can provide direct support to European legislation. This is translated in Regulation 1025/2012 on European standardization.


More about EC/EFTA Standardization Requests

Standardization requests are the mechanism by which the European Commission (EC) and the secretariat of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) request the European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) to develop and adopt European standards in support of European policies and legislation.


This mechanism involves several steps.

  • The European Commission sends a provisional draft standardization request to CEN and/or CENELEC;
  • The text is examined by the relevant Technical Body/Bodies within CEN and/or CENELEC;
  • CEN and/or CENELEC provides comments to the European Commission, including proposals for specific modifications to the text (with explanatory notes);
  • A draft standardization request is submitted to the Standing Committee responsible for implementing the procedure described in Directive 98/34/EC, which ensures a wide consultation of national authorities and national standardization bodies in the EU Member States;
  • A standardization request is formally submitted to CEN and/or CENELEC and examined by the relevant Technical Body or Bodies;
  • The CEN and/or CENELEC Technical Board makes a decision on whether or not to accept the standardization request (with or without restrictions), taking into account the views of the relevant Technical Body or Bodies;
  • Once the Technical Board has made a decision, CEN and/or CENELEC informs the European Commission.

Find information about specific standardization requests on the website of the European Commission.

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