The high level of convergence between the European and international standards is facilitated by the ongoing technical cooperation between CEN and ISO through the Vienna Agreement and CENELEC and IEC trhough the Frankfurt Agreement.

The main objectives of these agreements are to provide a:

  • A framework for the optimal use of resources and expertise available for standardization work,
    preventing duplication of effort and reducing time when preparing standards;
  • mechanism for information exchange between international and European Standardization Organizations (ESOs)
    to increase the transparency of ongoing work at international and European levels.


The Global Outreach Report produced by CEN and CENELEC twice each year gives a good overview of the level of alignment between European and International standards.



The Vienna Agreement between CEN and ISO was signed in 1991. New standards projects are jointly planned between CEN and ISO.


Wherever appropriate priority is given to cooperation with ISO provided that international standards meet European legislative and market requirements and that non-European global players also implement these standards.


The Vienna Agreement:

Allows expertise to be focused and used in an efficient way to the benefit of international standardization. It is completed by jointly developed Guidelines supporting the practical implementation of the Vienna Agreement.

The first IEC-CENELEC Cooperation Agreement on common planning of new work and parallel voting was approved in 1991 and referred to as the Lugano Agreement.


CENELEC and IEC then formalized the framework of their cooperation through the signature in 1996 of 'an agreement on common planning of new work', known as the Dresden Agreement.


There is a very high level of technical alignment (80% of CENELEC standards are identical to or based on IEC publications), enabled by the Frankfurt Agreement.


Just as is the case with the Vienna Agreement between CEN and ISO, the Frankfurt Agreement allows expertise to be focused and used in an efficient way to the benefit of international standardization.

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